Fight Against Melanoma

Forty-thousand new cases of skin cancer are reported each year, and researchers say the number of people with melanoma is increasing faster than those with any other cancer. For the thousands who already have the deadliest form of melanoma, there are few effective treatments, at least until now. A new therapy may offer patients another chance at life.

Every day brings new challenges to Bob. Besides caring for a house full of unusual pets, Bob’s handcrafted jewelry is in demand at shows. However, Bob’s greatest challenge is his daily battle against the deadliest skin cancer — metastatic melanoma.

Cancer on Bob’s skin grew inward and spread to his liver and lungs. Despite several operations, it came back. Bob’s doctors turned to the newly approved-drug Proleukin. The results surprised everyone. Bob says, “After a couple more months, virtually all the tumors were gone.”

Bob injects himself daily with Proleukin. Side effects include weight gain and fatigue, but doctors say most side effects go away when treatments end. Doctors believe the drug offers the only reasonable chance of survival for thousands of melanoma patients. For people whose tumors go away significantly, they often remain in remission for very long periods of time.

Researchers say the number of cases like Bob’s continue to rise. Proleukin is an approved drug for treating other cancers, but it was just recently approved for metastatic melanoma. FDA approval means the drug is readily available to thousands diagnosed each year with this deadly cancer. Doctors emphasize that melanoma can hit individuals at any age, and it is highly treatable with surgery if caught early. Unfortunately, once the melanoma spreads throughout the body, it is usually fatal within nine months.

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