The US Department of Defense is seeking $4 million dedicated to research efforts on melanoma and other skin cancers, which it claims is a danger facing many military personnel. As part of the Fiscal 2009 Department of Defense Appropriations Conference Report, the House of Representatives is currently considering the measure.

The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF), a national organization, made the announcement last week.

"With more than 140,000 personnel currently stationed in Iraq, the intensity of sun exposure puts our men and women at long-term risk for melanoma—the most serious form of skin cancer and one of the fastest-growing cancers in the US," said Randy Lomax, chairman of the Melanoma Research Foundation. "By specifically including melanoma in its peer-reviewed cancer research program—as it does with breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers—the Department of Defense recognizes the scope of this very serious problem facing our troops."

"Increased funding, especially at the federal levels, for research is critical to finding a cure given the very real opportunities available for developing new and meaningful therapies, especially for those with advanced melanoma," said Dr. David E. Fisher, chief of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of the MRF’s Scientific Advisory Committee. "Becoming part of the Defense Department’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs is a major victory for the thousands of people living with melanoma and our veterans who may develop it."

[Source: The Melanoma Research Foundation]