WEB REVIEW – Raising awareness of melanoma

A woman with melanoma is sharing her story in hopes of raising awareness about her disease, one of the most serious forms of skin cancer, affecting young adults.

“I assumed it was so easy to take care of”, Tara Miller told herself when she discovered a bump behind her ear. But it was something much more serious than the 29-year-old would have ever imagined. The stage IV melanoma diagnosis was a shock, as Tara had always made a point of getting yearly skin checks, and applying sunscreen whenever she went outside.

Doctors figured it started from a mole. 11 months later, it had turned into 14 brain tumors and four spots in her lungs and lymph nodes. “I think the perception of melanoma is just something on the skin and maybe you can have it removed, but it’s a much more serious and deadly form of cancer that I think people underestimate”, said her twin sister Lauren.

“It all started a week after I was diagnosed. I had my first surgery July 17th, which was a diagnostic surgery. And then I had three craniotomies, four rounds of Gamma Knife Radiation, six weeks of Proton therapy, three weeks of whole brain radiation and four rounds of immune therapy drug,” Tara said.

Tara, who is a lawyer by trade, has started a foundation that she hopes will help educate people about this deadly disease and raise much needed dollars for additional research. Last month, the Tara Miller Melanoma Foundation held its first, “Make the Best of it Bash!”. More than 700 people attended.