skin cancer

Key Components of Successful Advocacy Campaigns

Really good campaigns have a way of positioning the issue so that people who might normally look at things from one perspective are drawn instead to consider your point of view because of how you’ve communicated it.

Key components of a successful advocacy campaign include the following:

1. Understand the issue and get all the facts.

2. Find out for whom you are advocating and for what you are advocating e.g. client, patient, and consumer group.

3. Identify the decision maker(s) and find out what their motives are.

4. Identify your allies and find out what their motives are.

5. Identify the detractors/opponents and their motives are.

6. Identify the influencers and their motives.

7. Identify undecided but important people / groups from 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and what would affect their decisions.

8. Identify interested media and what would motivate their interest.

9. Develop strategies; both public and private e.g. letter writing, postcards campaigns, protests, meetings, and demonstrations.

10.Implement strategies approved by those for whom you are advocating appropriate to the situation.

11. Evaluate the strategies e.g. did you achieve your goals, partially or totally; were those for whom you were advocating satisfied with the results and / or process; were you satisfied with the strategies chosen; would you have chosen other approaches; has the implementation been consistent with the principles of advocacy?

12, If you need to continue, return to 2 above and work through the process as many times as necessary.


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Toronto Blue Jays Take on #NotJustSkinCancer


As part of the melanoma awareness campaign, Melanoma survivors from across Canada are sharing their stories in response to the release of the video #NotJustSkinCancer.

Save Your Skin Foundation participated alongside the Melanoma Network of Canada to develop #NotJustSkinCancer. The video features Canadian patients who have experienced a melanoma diagnosis firsthand and have realized that melanoma is not “just skin cancer.” It informs and inspires by shedding light on the very real challenges and fears that come with a melanoma diagnosis, as well as provides hope to other Canadians facing similar situations.

Much to the esteem of the #NotJustSkinCancer team, the Toronto Blue Jays, via the Jays Care Foundation, chose to highlight the campaign during their game on July 2, 2016, as part of their Play Sun Smart program (est. 1999).

The Jays graciously hosted many folks from Save Your Skin Foundation and Melanoma Network of Canada in their Community Clubhouse Suite for their game against the Cleveland Indians on July 2, 2016.

They donated numerous tickets to the #NotJustSkinCancer team, 25 of which, Save Your Skin Foundation gifted to Toronto youth. It was a pleasure to watch all the little ones run the bases after the game, frolicking with “Ace” the Blue Jay mascot, on what is known as Jr. Jays Saturday.

In the Community Clubhouse Suite, the participants of the video, their families, and fellow volunteers enjoyed an afternoon of delicious ballpark snacks, soft beverages, and an unparalleled view of the game-winning Toronto Blue Jays.

We were comfortably seated on cushioned benches in the shade to watch the game, with a gentle breeze keeping us cool in the open-air Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome). We even got to meet a few Blue Jays Alumni! It was the first Toronto Blue Jays game for a few family members – little to say, the bar was set very high for their future game experiences.

Prior to the game, the Jays Care Foundation arranged for a segment of the #NotJustSkinCancer video to be played on the big screen. In full volume everyone could hear about the importance of raising awareness for melanoma skin cancer; a powerful moment for those involved.

Tearful hugs were exchange as many of the melanoma patients interviewed in the video were reunited. There were feelings of mutual respect for the gravity of the topic and the gratitude felt to be present in the moment.

As a Spokesperson for Save Your Skin Foundation, I would like to thank the Toronto Blue Jays and Jays Care Foundation for sharing the message #BeyondTheBallpark that it is important to #PlaySunSmart. Play Sun Smart – and LIVE sun Smart. It is #NotJustSkinCancer

 On a personal note, I would also like to thank Kathy Barnard and the Save Your Skin Foundation team for allowing my family and I the privilege to attend the game of behalf of Save Your Skin. Because of you I was able to treat my Mother and Step Dad to an afternoon of fun and family. They are huge baseball fans and they were thrilled to experience such fine accommodations.

I was happy to represent #NotJustSkinCancer via Save Your Skin Foundation, while able to give some love back to the family who loves me and has cared for me throughout my melanoma journey. It gave us an afternoon to remember that we would not have had otherwise.

Thank you SYSF and Toronto Blue Jays – a winning team!

A very special thank-you to Roche for funding this skin cancer awareness video! With your support, the messages of the video can touch the lives of many battling skin cancer.

Natalie Richardson, July 2, 2016





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Melanoma in Canada: A Short Review of the Past Ten Years

In the decade since the Save Your Skin Foundation began, the Canadian melanoma landscape has seen both positive and negative changes. Advances in treatment methods and greater availability of trial drugs has increased survivorship rates, yet melanoma remains one of the only preventable cancers that has not seen a decline in diagnosis’. Review of the data found in the Canadian Cancer Society’s Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014, Special Topic: Skin Cancers and 2015, Special Topic: Predictions of the Future Burden of Cancer in Canada reveals that more Canadians are being diagnosed with melanoma than ever before.
Melanoma diagnosis rates have risen considerably in the past decade; in 2006, it was estimated that melanoma accounted for 13.6 of every 100,000 male cancer diagnosis’, and 11 of every 100,000 female cancer diagnosis’. This number has climbed to 16.1/100,000 cases for males and 13.2/100,000 for females in 2015 (2015 26-27). Given that the largest risk factor for melanoma is UV exposure, it is possible that this rise is due to the increasing popularity of tanning beds; this suggestion is supported by the yearly increase of 2.9% of melanoma cases among women between 2001-2010, versus 2.3% per year for men between in the same time period (21). However, melanoma is still more prevalent in males than in females; the Canadian Cancer Society estimated that in 2014, 1 in 59 Canadian men would develop melanoma with a 1 in 290 mortality rate, while 1 in 73 Canadian women would develop melanoma with a 1 in 395 mortality rate (2014 78).
While these numbers are growing, so are the survival rates of melanoma in Canada. Based on their follow-up data from between 2004 and 2008, the Canadian Cancer Society found “the one-, five-, and [ten]-year predicted relative survival ratios (RSRs) [to be] 97%, 89% and 86% respectively” (83). The CCS also found that the five-year predicted relative survival ratio has risen “from 85% in 1992-1996 to 89% in 2004-2008” (83), likely due to the rise of new treatment opportunities for melanoma patients.
While the incidence and mortality rates are higher in adult than adolescent Canadians (2014 77), statistics demonstrate that childhood sun safety is critical. Skin cancer is the second most diagnosed among Canadian youth 15-35 years old (Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, “About Skin Cancer”), and the Canadian Cancer Society has found links between intermittent and intense sun exposure (resulting in burns) in adolescence and the development of skin cancers later in life (2014 87). It is imperative that parents ensure their children are protected during their outdoor activities, not only during their summer activities but also while partaking in winter sports, as snow can reflect UV rays. Preventing sunburns in adolescence, and teaching children about sun safety, can reduce their chances of developing melanoma as an adult.
Maintaining a sun safe attitude is not just important as an adolescent; no tan is a safe tan, and exposure to UV rays at any stage in life can contribute to the development of melanoma! If you are interested in reading more about sun safety, Save Your Skin’s recent blog post on the topic can be found here. For more information about cancers in Canada, we recommend a read of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014, Special Topic: Skin Cancers and 2015, Special Topic: Predictions of the Future Burden of Cancer in Canada. Thank you for reading, and remember sun safety during your outdoor activities!


Works Cited:

Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2014). Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Web.

Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2015). Canadian Cancer Statistics 2015. Web.

Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation. “About Skin Cancer”. Web.

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Save Your Skin Weekly Flashback [June 25th-July 1st, 2016]

Welcome to the Save Your Skin Foundation media flashback- your weekly guide to the melanoma landscape, and the activities of the Save Your Skin Foundation! It’s an exciting week for the skin cancer community, with the Post-ASCO 2016 Conference in Munich, Germany and the Summit for Cancer Immunotherapy (Canadian Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium and BioCanRx) in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which Save Your Skin Founder Kathy Barnard opened with a discussion of life “beyond the curve” of melanoma. Keep an eye on our facebook page and twitter for updates on both conferences!

We are also excited to announce that we have been featured in the Summer 2016 issue of Canadian Skin, which includes a profile on the Save Your Skin Foundation and a testimonial from one of our board members, Christian Mosley!

Finally, we are still running our survey on sun safety behaviour, which you can fill out here. We appreciate it!



Here are some links and images we shared with you this week:


– This image from Post-ASCO in Munich, which suggests an alteration to the ABCDE (now the ABCD!) rules of clinical mole recognition:


This article from Modern Medicine Network outlining the S3 international guidelines for actinic keratosis

This article from Dermatology News reporting the findings of a study done by the US National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program (SEER), which “highlight[s] the heavy death toll of thin melanomas”

This article from Ecancernews reporting the suggested links between immunotherapy drugs, such as ipilimumab and nivolumab, and arthritis

This News Wire article announcing that Merck has approved Keytruda for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma that have not been treated with ipilimumab

This article in Bel Marra Health suggesting that the development of vitiligo may be indicative of immunotherapy response

This article in Trib Live about awesome Mohs histologist Danielle Deroy Pirain, who had a sunscreen dispenser installed in Mt Lebanon Park, Pennsylvania!

This link to the Aim at Melanoma Foundation’s Memorial Wall. If you would like to include a loved one’s name on the Memorial Wall, you can do so here.

-And this Fierce Medical Devices article about the partnership between Australia’s IBM Research and Melanoma Institute Australia to build on IBM’s MoleMap, which seeks to identify patterns in early stage melanoma



Thank you for reading, be sun safe out there!



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Save Your Skin Weekly Flashback [June 18-24, 2016]

Welcome to the Save Your Skin Foundation media flashback- your weekly guide to the melanoma landscape, and the activities of the Save Your Skin Foundation! It’s the first week of summer in the Western world, which means it’s definitely time to start thinking about sun safety! Check out our recent blog about sun safety here. We’re also running a summer sun safety behaviour survey, which we would love for you to fill out! You can find it here.


If you missed the flashback last week, it is our pleasure to inform you that Save Your Skin Founder Kathy Barnard was awarded a BC Community Achievement Award in May! Shaw TV will be airing the event for the rest of June and into July; a broadcasting schedule can be found here.
Here are some images and links we shared with you this week:

  • This cute video from Leo Pharmaceuticals about sun safety
  • This article from Sundicators about protecting your skin from the sun 
  • The American Academy of Dermatology’s new Melanoma PSA, “‘Arms’” 
  • This link to the draft of the Government of Canada’s Guidelines for Tanning Equipment Owners, Operators, and Users, with a feedback opportunity 
  • This article in Targeted Oncology announcing that the Melanoma Institute Australia and the University of Sydney have deemed the combination of pembrolizumab and ipilimumab as a safe treatment for advanced melanoma 
  • This article in Fierce Pharma that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has approved Bristol-Meyer’s combination of Opdivo and Yervoy for advanced melanoma patients
  • This Today piece about the “Mr. Sun” campaign, which aims to warn families about the possibly severe consequences of childhood burns 
  • This HelloGiggles article debunking 13 myths about sunscreen and skin cancer 
  • This piece from Cure Today  about the 2014 Cancer Experience Registry Report, “Elevating the Patient Voice”


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A Sun Safety Reminder from The Save Your Skin Foundation!

Summer has officially begun, and while it’s off to a cloudy start here at Save Your Skin in Vancouver, it’s important to remember sun safety during your outdoor activities! Though it is tempting to get a tan during the summer, keep in mind that the Canadian Cancer Society cites exposure to ultraviolet radiation as the greatest risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Melanoma is often a preventable disease, yet it is estimated that in 2017, 7, 200 Canadians were diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer and 74, 000 with non-melanoma skin cancer. That is why it’s essential to keep sun safety in mind if you’re working or playing outside this summer!

If you choose to wear sunscreen, it should have at least SPF 30, with UVA and UVB protection. The high SPF ensures that you will be well protected if you apply every two hours, while UVA and UVB protection shields you from both longer and shorter UV rays, respectively. It is a good idea to reapply more frequently if you are sweating or swimming, as moisture can rinse away sunscreen, and if you are at the beach, as sand can reflect ultraviolet rays. Remember to apply sunscreen to areas which are often forgotten, such as the back of your neck, your ears, the backs of your hands and the tops of your feet. If you are concerned about the chemical compositions of sunscreen, you can stay sun safe with organic sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide as their only active ingredient. They are available at most drug stores. Whatever sunscreen you use, remember to apply it fifteen minutes before leaving the house, so the ingredients have time to be absorbed into your skin!

There are ways to protect yourself from UV rays as an alternative, or in addition, to wearing sunscreen. These include wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes and prevent ocular melanoma, and a hat to shield the top of your head and neck and long sleeved shirts and pants. It is wise to seek shade whenever possible, especially when you don’t have the protection of sunscreen or clothing.

Sun safety is especially important for children. There are links between intermittent and intense sun exposure (resulting in burns) in adolescence and the development of skin cancers later in life, and skin cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in Canadian youth from 15-35 years old. While it is a good idea to introduce your children to sun safety early, keep in mind that the developing skin of babies is sensitive to both UV damage and the chemicals found in sunscreen. It is therefore best practice to keep babies out of the sun as much as possible.

If you live in a city with inconsistent weather, it is important to be protected even when the sun isn’t shining. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that up to 40% of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can still reach the earth through clouds, so it is important to consider sun safety even when the sky is grey. While we recommend wearing sunscreen every day, check a UV index app if you need convincing; if the UV index is higher than 3, the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking full sun safety measures. While we may take it for granted, the skin is our largest organ, and it deserves to be taken care of!

Thanks for reading! On behalf of the The Save Your Skin Foundation, have a great and sun safe summer!



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Save Your Skin Weekly Flashback [June 10-17, 2016]


Welcome to the first Save Your Skin Foundation media flashback- your weekly guide to the melanoma landscape, and the activities of the Save Your Skin Foundation! The Save Your Skin Foundation is riding high on recent successes this week; in May, Save Your Skin Founder Kathy Barnard was awarded a BC Community Achievement Award, and the event is being re-broadcast by Shaw TV! The airing schedule can be found here. In addition, the donations have been counted and our recent #unbeach fundraiser raised $15, 000, which is enough to help fifteen patients with their treatment, transportation, and meal costs! These events, running alongside National Sun Awareness Week (June 2-12), have granted Save Your Skin a great start to the summer!



Here are some articles we shared with you this week:

  • This announcement by CNW that Canada’s Health Technology Assessment Agency has approved OPDIVO™ to treat non- small cell lung cancers
  • This PharmaTimes announcement that unfortunately, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has rejected use of Roche’s Cotellic/Zelboraf as a treatment for melanoma
  • This piece from the New England Journal of Medicine comparing the use of Pembrolizumab versus Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma
  • This article by the Indianapolis Star, which discusses the positive changes in the melanoma landscape thanks to new treatments
  • This article by Medscape about the dawn of ‘precision prevention’ of melanoma
  • This coverage by KCCI News down in Des Moines on the rising rates of melanoma in children and teenagers
  • This rundown by the Aim at Melanoma Foundation about genetic risk factors for melanoma
  • And this Bayshore Broadcasting coverage of the Canadian Cancer Society’s awesome Mudmoiselle fundraiser! If you’re in the Beaver Valley area, there is still time to register!

Thank you for supporting the Save Your Skin Foundation! Don’t forget sun safety while you’re outdoors this week, and we’ll see you on the next media flashback!


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See SYS Founder Kathy Barnard Receive Award on Shaw TV!

Starting today, Shaw TV will be airing the BC Community Achievement Awards, one of the recipients being Save Your Skin Founder Kathy Barnard! See below for air times in your area!

Her Honour Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon presents awards to 32 BC recipients, for their outstanding contributions to their communities.
Length: 90 minutes
A shorter version is also available on the Foundation’s website:
Air Times:
BC Interior
(starting June 15 and running to June 26)

Kelowna, Vernon-Salmon Arm, Penticton, Merritt, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George – Wed, Fri, Sun @ 7pm
Kamloops – Wed @ 7pm, Fri @ 7 pm, Sun @ 5:30pm
Dawson Creek, Fort St. John – Wed @ 7pm, Fri @ 8pm, Sun @ 7pm

Shaw Metro Vancouver
As far east as Abbotsford and as far west as West Vancouver. All cities/communities in between: North & West Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Port Moody,
Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Abbotsford, Langley, New Westminster, White Rock.

Sun June 19 @9:30am
Tue June 21 @9:30pm
Fri June 24 @5:30pm
Sat June 25 @10:30am
Sun June 26 @11:30am
Sun July 3 @11pm
Wed June 29 @4:30pm

Shaw TV South Vancouver Island

Tue June 21st @ 1pm
Wed June 22nd @ 10pm
Thu June 23rd @ 6am
Sat June 25th @ 3pm
Sun June 26th @ 7pm

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Announcing a new treatment for melanoma, along with two infographics (on Immuno-oncology and Melanoma), and new animated videos on cancer and immuno-oncology!

Announcing a new treatment for melanoma, along with two infographics (on Immuno-oncologY and Melanoma), and new animated videos on cancer and immuno-oncology!

Today, it was announced that KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) received approval for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma who have not received prior treatment with ipilimumab. KEYTRUDA is now the first and only anti-PD1 agent approved for first-line treatment regardless of BRAF mutation status.

A press release announcing this news was released earlier today and can be read here. The multi-media press release was issued with two infographics (on Immuno-oncology and Melanoma), and new animated videos on cancer and immuno-oncology.

We are also pleased to share to new amazing Patient Voice videos. We are continuously inspired by Save Your Skin Foundation patients, Mike and Pierre, who generously shared their stories for these videos.

Meet Mike:

Meet Pierre:

You can also see previous videos with Mike and Pierre on our I’m Living Proof website.

We are sharing all of this with you during an important time of year for skin cancer. Today marks the last day of Melanoma Awareness Month and it is the eve of International Cancer Immunotherapy Month (June). Save Your Skin Foundation will also be working to create further awareness of Sun Awareness Week (June 6-12) and National Cancer Survivor Day, which takes place on Sunday, June 5th.

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Kirk LaPointe’s reflection on melanoma cancer


Kirk LaPointe’s does a daily reflection, and recently did a reflection on melanoma cancer. Here is the segment, featuring Save Your Skin Foundation Spokesperson Natalie Richardson and Dr. Jason Rivers.

A Skin Cancer Survivor’s Story:

As the warm weather approaches, so do the warnings about skin cancer. May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and this morning on Our City, Natalie Richardson, Spokesperson for Save Your Skin Foundation, joined Kirk LaPointe to share her story. Richardson is a mother of identical twins, writer, and melanoma survivor. When diagnosed in 2014, Richardson said her reaction was that it was “just skin cancer.” Today, after going through multiple surgeries, immunotherapy on a clinical trial, and experiencing the devastating impact the condition can have, she regrets this misperception. “I’m afraid for the potential for a shortened life. I don’t want to miss my kids growing up.”  Richardson now advocates to raise awareness about this deadly disease and has been sharing her journey on her blog, The Impatient Patient. Richardson, whose daughter was the one who initially encouraged her to go get a suspect mole checked out, is also a spokesperson for the Save Your Skin Foundation of Canada. She encouraged people to be vigilant about their health. “Look after yourself, or you’re not going to be there to look after others.”

Also on the show this morning was Dermatologist Dr. Jason Rivers of Pacific Dermaesthetics. He talked about common misconceptions around skin cancer. Asked whether he thinks there needs to be more awareness about the danger of skin cancer, he said “we’ve been doing public education programs for years … but some people don’t take heed. Especially boys age 18-24.” LaPointe noted that some people avoid sunscreen because they are concerned about the chemical content. Rivers responded, “There are studies that show that certain chemicals in some sunscreens can leech through the skin & cause hormone destruction, but to this point in time nobody has shown there is no risk of skin cancer.” However, Rivers noted that sunscreen should be used as an “adjunct” to sun protection. “No sunscreen is complete” he said. Instead – people need to slap on a hat and stay out of the noon-day sun. Apparently – the main prescription is for common sense.

To hear the full interview – listen here:


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