It is with passion, enthusiasm, and the desire
  to preserve Tim's name and spirit that we created the
    Timothy Aycock Melanoma Research Foundation
Timothy and family
Our mission is to continue his heroic battle against melanoma by increasing awareness about this lethal disease, contributing to cutting-edge medical research, and providing information to those who struggle with melanoma's devastating effects.

Melanoma Facts & Stats

Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes predominantly occur in the skin but can be found elsewhere, especially in the eye. The vast majority of melanomas originate in the skin. Once melanoma metastasizes, a patient's survival rarely exceeds two years. A melanoma mole that grows only 1mm in depth is deep enough to enter the bloodstream and metastasize.

1 out of 75 people will develop melanoma.

Melanoma is currently the sixth most common cancer in American men and the seventh most common cancer in American women.1

The median age at diagnosis is between 45-55, although 25% of cases occur before age 40.1

It is the second most common cancer in women between the ages of 20-25.1

Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 25-30.1

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 62,190 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the U.S. during 2006.

1Lotze MT, Dallal RM, Kirkwood JM, Flickinger JC. Cutaneous melanoma. In DeVita VT, Rosenberg SA, Hellman S. (eds.), Principles and Practice of Oncology, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 2001.

Awareness & Prevention

You are likely to receive approximately 80% of your lifetime sun exposure during the first 18 years of life. Therefore, sun safety for infants, children, and teens is vital to preventing skin cancer in later years.

Not all sunscreens are created equal. Be sure that you use a sunscreen that will protect you from BOTH UVA and UVB rays. Until recently, most sunscreens provided protection from just UVB rays. The UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and are strongly absorbed by the melanocytes which are involved in both melanin production (which is how we tan) and in melanoma formation. Read your sunscreen and get protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole, or the appearance of a new mole. Men most commonly develop melanoma on the trunk, particularly the back, and women on the legs or arms. By becoming familiar with the pattern of moles and spots on your body, you have a good chance of detecting changes early and bringing them to the attention of your doctor. Early detection is key to treatment and survival. Adults should see a dermatologist once a year for regular screenings. If you have an immediate family member with a history of melanoma, then you may need to be screened twice a year.

As with Tim, melanoma can also originate in the eye. Be sure to have your eyes examined by an Ophthalmologist every year.

Medical Breakthroughs for Melanoma

Trial Gene Therapy Successful for Two Patients with Advanced Melanoma

Gene therapy wiped out melanoma in two out of seventeen patients who had advanced stages of the disease. A team of researchers at the National Cancer Institute genetically engineered patients' own white blood cells to recognize and attack cancer cells. What makes this breakthrough extremely exciting is that this is the first time gene therapy has been utilized successfully to combat melanoma. In fact, acting NCI Director John E. Niederhuber, M.D stated, "This type of gene therapy, altering lymphocytes, could be used in many types of common cancers and could be achievable in the near future." Source - National Cancer Institute, August 31, 2006

DNA-based vaccine triples survival for dogs with melanoma; Clinical Trial now being used on humans

A DNA based vaccine, which is the result of a collaborative effort between the dogs' veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center (AMC) and researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has provided extremely positive results in a study conducted on over 100 canines. This new DNA-based vaccine more than tripled median survival from an expected 90 days to an average of 389 days for nine of the dogs. These dogs developed melanoma spontaneously as opposed to sun exposure. Currently, the vaccine is being used on people as part of a clinical trial which is being conducted by Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Source - Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, October 2006