Donate today and save a life.
Your support will help fund vital melanoma research that can give people like Tess a better chance of surviving this deadly skin cancer.
Tess was at the very beginning of adult life and motherhood when her life was cut short by melanoma. She had not long married the love of her life and was at the beginning of a promising teaching career. Tess was beyond excited about starting a family with her new husband Victor.
Everything appeared to be going so well, but when Tess was four months pregnant with their first child, Victor noticed that a mole on her back had changed: “It was completely out of the blue,” recalls Tess’s brother Raphael. “We had no family history of melanoma. Mum and Dad always made sure we wore hats when we were kids and protected our skin from the sun. Melanoma was never on our radar until Tess was told, ‘This is what you have and it’s going to be deadly.’”
Devastatingly, Tess passed away when her daughter Mabel was just ten months old.
Stories like Tess’s inspire us to push ahead with our innovative programs of research – research that leads to more discoveries, more breakthrough treatments and better outcomes for people like Tess in the future.
A donation of $25 today will fund innovative research to help stop melanoma taking the lives of Queenslanders.
Donations over $2 are tax deductible
can pay for collection of one blood sample for analysis
can pay for analysis of one genetic sample using cell free DNA testing
can pay for analysis of one genetic sample using imaging across mass spectrometry
can pay for one week of analysis of bioinformatics and biostatistical data
can pay for the development of a database for sample data collection and storage
Queensland is the melanoma capital of the world. Each year, more than 4000 people are diagnosed with the disease and hundreds die. Despite this, we currently don’t have any way of predicting which melanomas have the potential to spread and become fatal and which can be cured by surgery.
You can help us to achieve this. Your gift today will progress research which will help uncover the deadly unknowns of a melanoma diagnosis.
How Research Helps
Cancer Council Queensland is funding a vital research project led by The University of Queensland on the genetic makeup of melanoma, with the aim of finding out why some cancers recur and spread while others do not.
Professor Kiarash Khosrotehrani, principal investigator on the project, explains:
“As many Queenslanders know, we try and diagnose melanoma early, before it spreads to other areas of the body. Until recently, an early diagnosis meant a good survival outcome is likely, and a less aggressive treatment is needed. But we recently did another calculation and looked at those who had died from melanoma that had returned and spread. What we found was quite stunning – a large majority of them were originally diagnosed at an early stage.”
This means that every Queenslander diagnosed with melanoma could potentially be facing the risk of a devastating outcome like Tess’s. And right now, the difference between surviving the cancer or dying, might be a doctors’ best guess.
With your help, we can change this.
Donations over $2 are tax deductible
Tess married Victor, a doctor, after two years of dating. “They had such an incredible connection, both emotionally and physically. They were a perfect match,” said Raphael, who helped organise the wedding.
Tess became pregnant with their first child. Four months later Victor discovered a mole on Tess’s back had changed, leading to the earth-shattering diagnosis of terminal melanoma. Tess refused the treatments that would risk her unborn child and was given 12 months to live.
Tess’s cancer progressed to stage four, and Mabel was induced so she could start aggressive treatment. While undergoing treatment, Tess spent every moment she could getting to know her new little girl.
Tess’s health declined rapidly. With no more treatment options available, the only choice left was to move Tess to palliative care. The family kept a constant vigil at her bedside, supporting her and each other in her final days.
As Professor Khosrotehrani explains, this Cancer Council Queensland funded project is the first important step in saving the lives of people like Tess in the years to come.
“What we are aiming to do is develop a new diagnostic test, a blood test or biopsy that can be offered to all patients that will determine the risk factor for whether their melanoma is potentially fatal, and whether it should be treated more aggressively. This research would potentially revolutionise the management of melanoma and is the first step towards more effective treatments that will save lives.”