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On the Fence with Immunotherapy

Forums General Melanoma Community On the Fence with Immunotherapy

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      Hello everyone. New here.

      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?

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          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.


            3c from 2019. 3 LN surgeries and now in 2nd round of immo.
            1st round….opvido…2x month for a year. never 1 side effect

            2nd round ..nivo + ipi …have had 3 of 6 infusions …3 weeks apart.

            started itching like a blue tic hound on a lousiana porch…..

            other than that no side other side effects

            ps..anyoone know the best remedy for itching?…taking claritin and lots of skin cream helps a little. the therory is because your skin is drying out…although it doen’s feel dry……

              I mean, I wish I could go back in time. Immunotherapy didn’t exist and I did go stage four. I would do it for sure if I had the choice. .
                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…
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