Weighing suggested treatment regimen

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    • #12372

      I have been recently diagnosed with Stage II to Stage III melanoma. I give it this label because it has been not confirmed as present anywhere today. I had a mole removed with over 4mm thickness and ulceration with pathology results indicating it was successful for getting all the margins of the location. There has been no confirmation that there is presence in my lymph nodes.
      I am struggling with the decision as to go ahead with the interferon therapy (4 weeks heavy dosage and 3 x week for 11 months thereafter), considering the impacts there may be to my lifestyle and family members. (Though I must comment that I have full support from family and friends as well as my employer to continue if I so chose).
      What I have heard and read so far is that there is no conclusive evidence that this is the best course of action.
      Can anyone comment or provide feedback for me?

    • #12375
      Annette Cyr

      Hello there – it is such a confusing point to be at – stage II or III. While no one wishes to be at stage IV, in some ways, it opens up a lot more access for the patient than we find at stage III. This is the age old question – interferon or not. I think what you will find is a broad range of perspectives on this. Overall, interferon may have a small benefit for some patients – who that is we don’t know. It is a very tough therapy – most patients do not complete the full regime. There are increasing numbers that do not opt to take the treatment and are being monitored closely for any recurrence. Hard thing to do, but sometimes the better avenue. I will let others weigh in here on their experience, but ultimately you want to discuss the pluses and minuses with your oncologist. Really ask what they think the benefit would be for you, given your risk profile? Do you suffer for any form of anxiety If it is not significant enough, then maybe you opt to monitor. It is, of course an individual decision. We are hoping for better therapies in the future, but this is all that is available in Canada for your stage at the moment. I hope others will weigh in with their thoughts

    • #12401

      Hi, No one can tell you what you should do but I feel that in sharing my experience might help. I was diagnosed in 2014 with Stage III nodular ulcerated metastatic melanoma. It was originally in my back and lymph nodes. I had surgery, 25 rounds of radiation and then chose Interferon as there was nothing else available. I was committed and did everything in my power to get both physically and mentally strong. Seven very long hard months into treatment the cancer had spread to my neck and lung. Part of me was happy because this meant I could stop the Interferon and perhaps just have surgery to remove the lesions because I did not want to go thru another treatment that made me feel as horrible as Interferon. I saw the surgeon who made a good case against surgery saying it would be very invasive and should be left as a last resort. My oncologist found a clinical trial of Nivolumab (Opdivo®) + Ipilimumab (Yervoy®) that I was a good candidate for with a greater success rate and far fewer side effects, although the papers I signed for the study listed just about everything. Again, I got myself mentally and physically prepared. I took it and within two months of treatment the nodule in my neck was almost gone and my regular CT scan at 4 months showed NED (no evidence of disease). I will receive my last treatment on June 30th, yeeha!!! and am feeling so well that I went back to work part time. The worst side affect is the lack of energy but other then that it’s all good. I know this is all very scary but there is life with cancer. It certainly does put everything in perspective. You might be interested in a webinar hosted by the Save Your Skin Foundation about Current Melanoma Treatments in Canada | March 9, 2pm You do need to register. Here is the URL http://eepurl.com/cEBEGP. I wish you all the best.

    • #13965

      I’m almost in the same boat, though it was detected in the lymph, but seems to have been removed with the biopsy, as my PET scan came back clear. I’m really struggling with the interferon option……really really struggling with it. I will follow his post closely.

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