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Skin cancer education to change melanoma stats

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Skin cancer education to change melanoma stats
On June 9, fourth-year Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) student and melanoma survivor Tyler Damen presented a donation to Princess Margaret Hospital and introduced a skin cancer education manual for DCs and RMTs.


June 14, 2010
By Massage Therapy Canada

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June 11, Toronto, Ont. – On
June 9, fourth year Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
(CMCC) student and melanoma survivor, Tyler Damen, presented a donation
to Princess Margaret Hospital and introduced a skin cancer education
manual compiledby Damen’s charity, Chiro’s Care, with CMCC’s support.

The manual, titled A Chiropractor’s Guide to Skin Cancer is the first in a set that will include a similar guide targeted to RMTs. Damen feels that chiropractors and registered massage therapists could be powerful allies in the fight against skin cancer, as they see more skin than most health care professionals do.

“Patients don’t see chiropractors or RMTs as someone they can ask about skin cancer,” said Damen, at a gathering with CMCC staff members and Cindy Goldman, director of special events for Princess Margaret Hospital. “Yet, given the numbers of patients seen by these practitioners in a week, month or year, they would be able to screen millions of people!” When Tyler Damen first heard the words, “You have melanoma”, the 24-year-old knew almost nothing about this potentially deadly form of cancer.

A year later, following five surgeries and a grueling 11 month course of chemotherapy, Damen had a new goal in his life: to change the statistics around skin cancer and, in particular, melanoma. That was only four short years ago. At the time of his diagnosis, Damen had just completed an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and was set to begin the first of four years as a student at CMCC.

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Continuing his studies even through treatment, Damen created the charity Chiro’s Care. The charity has a three-pronged approach to improving the outcomes for skin cancer victims: educate manual practitioners on how to identify possible skin cancer in patients, so they may refer these patients to the appropriate specialist: raise funds for melanoma research: and raise funds for patient care for melanoma victims. Damen created The Chiropractor’s Guide to Skin Cancer for DCs specifically, and, through the support of CMCC, it was sent out to 5400 chiropractors across North America.

Damen also wishes to incorporate RMTs into the fight against melanoma and, for this reason, also has plans to provide a manual for these professionals as well. “I realized that if I could educate DCs and RMTs about the signs of skin cancer,” notes Damen, “that we would have thousands of professionals helping to diagnose skin cancer earlier – this is currently one of our best strategies for increasing survival rates.” At the donation gathering, CMCC president, Dr. Jean Moss, told those present that CMCC is proud to have students like Tyler who are not only committed to their profession but who are committed to making a difference in their communities as well.

Damen presented a cheque for $10 000 to Princess Margaret Hospital and says he hopes this will be the first in a series of donations that Chiro’s Care will make. He hopes to continue gathering funds through the sale of Chiro’s Care T-shirts. The T-shirts are $15 + shipping and a portion of proceeds from them also goes into the production of the skin cancer guides. Tyler looks forward to being able to sell these guides, in the near future, to collect further funds for melanoma research and victims of melanoma.

Speaking on behalf of Princess Margaret Hospital, Cindy Goldman thanked Tyler Damen and Chiro’s Care, saying, “I’m always impressed by the power that one person has to impact on a community, a school and a profession – even by asking, or prompting the necessary questions. This is an impressive thing that you have done!” For more information on Chiro’s Care, and to order a T-Shirt or enquire about the The Chiropractor’s Guide to Skin Cancer, please visit www.chiros-care.com


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