The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Content within the patient forum is user-generated and has not been reviewed by medical professionals. Other sections of the Melanoma Research Foundation website include information that has been reviewed by medical professionals as appropriate. All medical decisions should be made in consultation with your doctor or other qualified medical professional.
Just got out of surgery two weeks ago, diagnosed after a negative sentinel biopsy as Stage 2B. I’ve learned since then however that there’s not much statistical difference in recurrence in Stage 2B, 2C, or 3A, 3B. Stage 2B and C are now considered ‘serious’ and the major immunotherapy trials have taken place. My oncologist told me immunotherapy is recommended, and will in his opinion be considered standard soon.
However, immunotherapy can have a lot of nasty (and some very serious) side effects as I’m sure you’re all aware of. I’m nearly 60, unemployed for now, on Medicaid, and moving back to my hometown near family. I think I’d like to be settled with job, doctor, and living situation before starting immunotherapy, if I do end up doing it (I imagine I will).
Stage 2 does not put you out of the woods by any standard. Generally speaking, your recurrence rate is around 30% in five years. I’m taking the disease seriously, but I’m trying to balance quality of life and treatment.
is anyone else on the fence with immunotherapy?
I am in the middle of treatment now for stage 2C. I have had no side effects. But I underestimated what a time commitment this is. I go every 6 weeks now (3 week interval for a first 2-3 months), and those appointments are not short. Nevertheless, I’m glad I’m doing it.
I would have done it if I was stage 2 B. For me, the anxiety of recurrence has only increased with time so I’m glad I’m doing what I can now.
Another thing to consider, which both my oncologist and Celeste had mentioned, is if you do get side effects, you can stop treatment while still getting a benefit. It’s unknown exactly how much treatment each person needs.
Good luck with your decision. The odds are in your favor at stage 2B.
Some weeks later– and of course (!) I’ll do the course. Does anyone know, however, whether starting three months out (recommended within three months of surgery) or six months, say, makes a difference? I’m on Medicaid and moving back to my home state. I hope my insurance switchover will be smooth but it may not be…
Viewing 3 reply threads
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
About the MRF Patient Forum
The MRF Patient Forum is the oldest and largest online community of people affected by melanoma. It is designed to provide peer support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. There is no better place to discuss different parts of your journey with this cancer and find the friends and support resources to make that journey more bearable.
The information on the forum is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide by MRF posting policies.