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Things I need to know or do before starting Interferon or chemo

Forums General Melanoma Community Things I need to know or do before starting Interferon or chemo

  • Post
    wpneuma
    Participant

      I was diagnosed in November of 2010 with a 6mm Melanoma on the inside left thigh.  Since then I have had the wide excision and sentinel node  biopsy in December 2010.  One of three nodes had microscopic cancer cells which prompted the superficial groin excision in February.  Thankfully all nodes were clear.  

       

      So I still have three drains in and will likely not be ready for the next step until late April or May.  I am presuming it will be Interferon but since I am a 3A with the larger tumor , I am not sure.

       

      I was diagnosed in November of 2010 with a 6mm Melanoma on the inside left thigh.  Since then I have had the wide excision and sentinel node  biopsy in December 2010.  One of three nodes had microscopic cancer cells which prompted the superficial groin excision in February.  Thankfully all nodes were clear.  

       

      So I still have three drains in and will likely not be ready for the next step until late April or May.  I am presuming it will be Interferon but since I am a 3A with the larger tumor , I am not sure.

       

      Just looking for advice to boost immune system or what preparation I can do now while I am waiting for the next step to begin.

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        Janner
        Participant

          Whether or not if you decide to do Interferon, I am just going to point out one thing.  The numbers for Interferon aren't great in the best of situations.  But those numbers are derived from clinical trials started within 56 days of the node dissection.  It sounds like you will be outside that window when/if you were to start Interferon.  That doesn't mean Interferon won't be effective for you if you choose to do it.  It's just that it's limited efficacy is only been proven to be helpful if started within that 56 day window.  Trials started after that 56 day window haven't been done.

          Best wishes on whatever you decide,

          Janner

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          Janner
          Participant

            Whether or not if you decide to do Interferon, I am just going to point out one thing.  The numbers for Interferon aren't great in the best of situations.  But those numbers are derived from clinical trials started within 56 days of the node dissection.  It sounds like you will be outside that window when/if you were to start Interferon.  That doesn't mean Interferon won't be effective for you if you choose to do it.  It's just that it's limited efficacy is only been proven to be helpful if started within that 56 day window.  Trials started after that 56 day window haven't been done.

            Best wishes on whatever you decide,

            Janner

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            MichaelFL
            Participant

              As Jan said, it is best to begin interferon within 56 days (8 weeks). If you do have the option of interferon, be aware that depression can be one of the biggest side effects, so you should begin taking a anti depression drug beforehand as they usually take 2-3 weeks to kick in.

              Good luck with whatever you decide,

              Michael

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              MichaelFL
              Participant

                As Jan said, it is best to begin interferon within 56 days (8 weeks). If you do have the option of interferon, be aware that depression can be one of the biggest side effects, so you should begin taking a anti depression drug beforehand as they usually take 2-3 weeks to kick in.

                Good luck with whatever you decide,

                Michael

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                EmilyandMike
                Participant

                  You could attempt to get into the adjuvant trial for Ipi instead of doing interferon? This is one of the only trials I know of that will take 3a.  There is a new adjuvant trial that is Ipi vs Interferon but they exclude 3a.  You must enter these trials within 12 weeks of your lymph node dissection, so you should still be eligible up until April.  You might not get the drug, but it might be worth a try.

                  http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00636168?term=Ipilimumab+melanoma&rank=7

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                  EmilyandMike
                  Participant

                    You could attempt to get into the adjuvant trial for Ipi instead of doing interferon? This is one of the only trials I know of that will take 3a.  There is a new adjuvant trial that is Ipi vs Interferon but they exclude 3a.  You must enter these trials within 12 weeks of your lymph node dissection, so you should still be eligible up until April.  You might not get the drug, but it might be worth a try.

                    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00636168?term=Ipilimumab+melanoma&rank=7

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                    Carver
                    Participant

                      I had a similar primary (6.9 mm nodular) and another 2.8 mm of melanoma was removed during wide excision. My sentinel node was positive. For me, I didn't feel like interferon was a good choice. I eleceted not to have treatments after my groin LND although I've been followed closely. I am now 6 years out without a recurrence. Everyone is different. You might want to look into some of the clinical trials, you may decide on interferon, or you may elect not to have any treatment at this time. Best of luck, Carver

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                        melanomafighter
                        Participant

                          I just wanted to say good luck in whatever you decide, I personally did do the interferon for a month at high dose (almost) had some complications with my eyes, and about two weeks of the low dose. Those were 20 time harder than the high dose for me and everyone said it would be the opposite?  I have been NED for a year so far and wouldn't change a thing.  My dr said it must of worked.  Its not fun but didn't effect me the way it effected others.  Everyone is different, you won't know until you have had a few of the injections.  I will say if there was something else out there I would have tried it.  I just stay positive, that all you can do but I did not have any depression at all.  I was motivated to fight this and do what I could to beat it and that is what kept me going everyday.  Good luck and keep us posted Teresa in Indiana

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                          melanomafighter
                          Participant

                            I just wanted to say good luck in whatever you decide, I personally did do the interferon for a month at high dose (almost) had some complications with my eyes, and about two weeks of the low dose. Those were 20 time harder than the high dose for me and everyone said it would be the opposite?  I have been NED for a year so far and wouldn't change a thing.  My dr said it must of worked.  Its not fun but didn't effect me the way it effected others.  Everyone is different, you won't know until you have had a few of the injections.  I will say if there was something else out there I would have tried it.  I just stay positive, that all you can do but I did not have any depression at all.  I was motivated to fight this and do what I could to beat it and that is what kept me going everyday.  Good luck and keep us posted Teresa in Indiana

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                          Carver
                          Participant

                            I had a similar primary (6.9 mm nodular) and another 2.8 mm of melanoma was removed during wide excision. My sentinel node was positive. For me, I didn't feel like interferon was a good choice. I eleceted not to have treatments after my groin LND although I've been followed closely. I am now 6 years out without a recurrence. Everyone is different. You might want to look into some of the clinical trials, you may decide on interferon, or you may elect not to have any treatment at this time. Best of luck, Carver

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                            GiniaJM
                            Participant

                              My very best advice is to talk to your  doctor about being put on an effective antidepressant. I had toxicity that caused severe depression about 6 weeks into taking interferon (4 weeks hi dose and two weeks low dose) and it was bad. I was told this is pretty common. I have now been taking Lexapro for all of these years and have not been able to get off and was told that I likely will be on it indefininely. HOWEVER it took care of that depression very quickly. I wonder if the interferon permanently changed something in my system. I simply do not know. But it would make sense to me to be put on it (Lexapro works very quickly) before you begin the treatment.

                              I want to stress something important that I have been told. The hi dose seems to be the most important with interferon and melanoma. I thought by going off I was dooming myself, but I am NED after many, many years (going on 8) and now feel it was worth it, but it is important to know the side effects and the risks.

                              Best wishes on your treatment and it's effectiveness.

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                              GiniaJM
                              Participant

                                My very best advice is to talk to your  doctor about being put on an effective antidepressant. I had toxicity that caused severe depression about 6 weeks into taking interferon (4 weeks hi dose and two weeks low dose) and it was bad. I was told this is pretty common. I have now been taking Lexapro for all of these years and have not been able to get off and was told that I likely will be on it indefininely. HOWEVER it took care of that depression very quickly. I wonder if the interferon permanently changed something in my system. I simply do not know. But it would make sense to me to be put on it (Lexapro works very quickly) before you begin the treatment.

                                I want to stress something important that I have been told. The hi dose seems to be the most important with interferon and melanoma. I thought by going off I was dooming myself, but I am NED after many, many years (going on 8) and now feel it was worth it, but it is important to know the side effects and the risks.

                                Best wishes on your treatment and it's effectiveness.

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                                GiniaJM
                                Participant

                                  My very best advice is to talk to your  doctor about being put on an effective antidepressant. I had toxicity that caused severe depression about 6 weeks into taking interferon (4 weeks hi dose and two weeks low dose) and it was bad. I was told this is pretty common. I have now been taking Lexapro for all of these years and have not been able to get off and was told that I likely will be on it indefininely. HOWEVER it took care of that depression very quickly. I wonder if the interferon permanently changed something in my system. I simply do not know. But it would make sense to me to be put on it (Lexapro works very quickly) before you begin the treatment.

                                  I want to stress something important that I have been told. The hi dose seems to be the most important with interferon and melanoma. I thought by going off I was dooming myself, but I am NED after many, many years (going on 8) and now feel it was worth it, but it is important to know the side effects and the risks.

                                  Best wishes on your treatment and it's effectiveness.

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                                  GiniaJM
                                  Participant

                                    My very best advice is to talk to your  doctor about being put on an effective antidepressant. I had toxicity that caused severe depression about 6 weeks into taking interferon (4 weeks hi dose and two weeks low dose) and it was bad. I was told this is pretty common. I have now been taking Lexapro for all of these years and have not been able to get off and was told that I likely will be on it indefininely. HOWEVER it took care of that depression very quickly. I wonder if the interferon permanently changed something in my system. I simply do not know. But it would make sense to me to be put on it (Lexapro works very quickly) before you begin the treatment.

                                    I want to stress something important that I have been told. The hi dose seems to be the most important with interferon and melanoma. I thought by going off I was dooming myself, but I am NED after many, many years (going on 8) and now feel it was worth it, but it is important to know the side effects and the risks.

                                    Best wishes on your treatment and it's effectiveness.

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