Yesterday I was diagnosed with invasive melanoma and my tumor was 5.5mm, I haven’t had tests/scans yet to fully determine staging. While waiting for the results of the biopsy I researched survival rates and those numbers are distressing. However, I have also read that the majority of the statistics you see on the internet are based off of historical data that has not had time to fully factor in the effectiveness of immunotherapy on survival rate statistics. For those of you that have talked with your doctors about immunotherapy and survival rates recently, is there reason to be more optimistic about immunotherapy success and increased survival rates?
- July 27, 2022 at 9:55 am
Sorry you have a need to be here, Mark. But first and foremost – ain’t nothin for sure in melanoma. Yes, it seems as though you have a large primary lesion. However, you don’t know your stage until you know. Sentinel node biopsy and scans will tell the tale. Melanoma is nothing if unpredictable!
- July 27, 2022 at 10:59 am
Here is something I wrote for folks (mostly Stage III) looking at adjuvant care: State of the science for adjuvant care
Finally, this primer, updated this year, on melanoma treatment generally may be helpful: Current Melanoma Treatments
When looking at melanoma data (or any data really) it is important to be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Outcome data for advanced melanoma patients is not at all the same as it is for Stage I patients or even those who are Stage III. But, the bottom line is this – there is hope and knowledge is power.
Feel free to use the search bubble on my blog if you like for more info. Currently, I am LIVING post Stage IIIB melanoma diagnosis in 2003 and Stage IV melanoma in 2010 (with brain and lung mets) and 2 1/2 year phase 1 nivolumab trial with last dose in June 2013 – NED for melanoma since 2010!
I hope these links help you. Will keep fingers and toes crossed that you are determined to have the lowest disease burden possible. Take good care and ask more questions as you have the need. There are many smart, caring melanoma peeps on this forum. I wish you my best. Celeste
Thanks for the quick response. With the size of my tumor I am expecting a Stage IV diagnosis, but am praying for better news. My follow up questions are a lot of what I’m reading about immunotherapy has to do with clinic trials. Is most of immunotherapy still being conducted via clinic trials, or have we advanced enough that immunotherapy can be the standard protocol for melanoma late stage treatment without the requirement of being in a clinical trial? What has been shown lately to be the best practice for choosing which doctor or cancer center you think is best? (I know this will depend on how far away from the hospital or cancer center you are using).
- July 27, 2022 at 11:48 am
In the “primer” I linked you to – all of the treatments included are FDA approved, many are now the “standard of care” and none require trial participation at this time. Immunotherapy in the form of ipi/nivo, Opdivo or Keytruda alone are first line care for melanoma patients in the average oncology office. Targeted therapy in the form of a BRAF inhibitor combined with a MEK inhibitor are also standard of care for melanoma BRAF positive patients without the need of a trial. I think things will be much more clear when you review the links. Hope that helps. c
- July 27, 2022 at 12:48 pm
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