Melanoma Monday: A Look at 5 Skin Cancer Stories From 2023


May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so we took a look at some of the top stories about the disease from 2023.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and despite melanoma making up approximately 1% of all skin cancer diagnoses, the majority of skin cancer-related deaths are tied to the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.

May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, with May 1 being designated “Melanoma Monday” by the American Academy of Dermatology. Both are aimed at increasing awareness and education about melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. So, in light of Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, here are CURE®’s top five skin cancer-related stories from 2023.

infographic outlining 5 stories about melanoma and skin cancer

May is National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

1. Cancer Vaccine Combo a ‘Potential Major Breakthrough’ in Skin Cancer

Research presented at the AACR Annual Meeting showed that adding an mRNA vaccine to the immunotherapy drug, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), lengthened the amount of time it took for patients with high-risk melanoma to experience a disease recurrence. While the drug duo is still being investigated in trials and is not regularly available yet (though it has been granted a breakthrough therapy designation by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA]), it could be a “potential major breakthrough” for melanoma and other types of cancer, one expert said.

2. FDA Approves Zynyz for Subset of Patients With Rare Skin Cancer

In March, the FDA approved Zynyz (retifanlimab-dlwr) for the treatment of patients with metastatic or recurrent locally advanced Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare type of skin cancer that is commonly found on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun and traditionally is a challenging disease to treat, according to an expert.

3. Mediterranean Diet May Boost Immunotherapy Outcomes

Research published in JAMA Oncology found that patients with advanced melanoma tended to have improved outcomes to checkpoint inhibitor drugs (a type of immunotherapy agent commonly used in skin cancer and other solid tumors) when they followed the Mediterranean diet, which is high in plant-derived foods, fiber and unsaturated fats from plant oils, nuts and fish.

4. FDA Agrees to Review Opdivo for Post-Surgical Melanoma Treatment

The FDA granted a supplemental Biologics License Application to Opdivo (nivolumab) to be used to treat stage 2B or 2C melanoma that has been surgically removed. In doing so, the agency will review the drug’s use in this patient population for potential approval. So far, data from the CheckMate-76K trial showed that after 12 months, 89% of patients treated with Opdivo did not experience a disease recurrence.

5. From Bedside to the Starting Line, a Patient Bonds With Her Oncologist Through Running

After being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in 2020, Rose Maxfield ended up bonding with her oncologist, Dr. Allison Betof Warner, over their shared love of athletics and marathon running. After Maxfield received aggressive immunotherapy treatment for her disease, the pair went on to run the New York City Marathon together in November 2021.

Find the latest news, updates and personal stories about the disease on CURE®’s Skin Cancer page.

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