Understanding melanoma survival

DeAnn Lazovich

In 2010, U researcher DeAnn Lazovich, Ph.D., M.P.H., and her team made headlines after leading a large-scale study that showed indoor tanning is a significant risk factor for melanoma. Their study, which followed more than 2,000 Minnesotans with and without melanoma, has since had a widespread impact on policies aimed at reducing indoor tanning by teens.

Recently, Lazovich, a member of the public health faculty, used support from the Minnesota Masons to build on this research.

With Masonic funds, she and her team contacted all the original study participants to learn more about their experiences being treated for and living with melanoma.

So far, one of their biggest findings has been that while quality of life is similar for those with and without melanoma, melanoma survivors are still spending time in the sun and developing sunburns, increasing their risk for new melanoma. Lazovich and her colleague, Rachel Vogel, who is also a beneficiary of Masonic support, are planning a new grant aimed at helping melanoma survivors better protect themselves from sun in their daily lives.  

Another big step for Lazovich and her team will be to learn more about the risk factors that lead to certain types of tumor mutations in melanoma and what those mutations mean for long-term survival. They are currently collecting tumor samples to proceed with this work.

Learn more about indoor tanning risks.

“My melanoma research was initiated with a pilot grant from the Masonic Cancer Center. From that modest investment, we have leveraged major grant funding to conduct research that has led to many fewer adolescents exposing themselves to the harmful effects of indoor tanning. Now, we are using the latest pilot grants to really extend our knowledge about melanoma survivorship and tumor development.”

 

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