(KHOU, Houston, Texas) Scientists continue to search for prevention and treatment against skin cancer, especially melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. One patient, Hilde Stapleton, noticed an itch behind her knee twelve years ago; it nearly ended her life.
The cancer even spread to Stapleton’s knee, thigh and lungs. But after 10 surgeries and 3 rounds of chemotherapy, she had a stroke and nearly died. But Stapleton’s doctors at MD Anderson entered her into a trial for a new cancer-killing drug. And it worked.
Stapleton’s melanoma is now in remission and she credits the drug trial for saving her life.
Oncologist Dr Kevin Kim says these types of trials are symbols of hope in the fight against melanoma, an aggressive cancer that is often resistant to chemotherapy. “Now we see some survivor benefit, finally for the first time in 30 years or more.” said Kim. “This is a very promising time for sure.” Dr Kim is also excited about a promising new drug that started its trials at MD Anderson. Nearly half of the advanced-stage melanoma patients who were treated with the drug saw major improvements. It should receive FDA approval by the end of the year. “We can customize with better medicines in five years,” said Kim. “I believe in five years we will have a definite impact on the survival of patients.”
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