I Will Survive!
A Patients Perspective
9/26/10 Melanoma Update Science News
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Let me introduce myself .... Dave ("Doc") Hemp .... I am a dentist. 3/23/07 was my 5 year anniversary melanoma
survival date without recurrence so far. After 5 years the odds do increase in the patients favor. This is
the most insidious and dangerous cancer that there is as surgery is basically the only sure cure so far. Chemo
and radiation are mostly useless although some drugs like Proleukino IL2 therapy help some types.
There is also some very promising genetic engineering of white blood cells therapy being done and has
cured some advanced melanomas (but there are many different kinds of melanomas that effective vaccines
have to made for). We have hope but the best thing is still prevention! .... Get those regular appointments
at a Dermatologist that is more into medicine than selling skin products.
I have gone to U.C. Davis Sactramento since my diagnosis because she (Dr. Burell) had the Canfield Mole Mapping
System I had researched on the internet because of the multitude of moles I have. She teaches there and sees
patients at the UCD clinic.
We did find one new pre melanoma after 3 years with this system. The system takes highly defined photo images
of all parts of your body at the first visit. At subsequent exams each of these areas is brought back up
on the computer and can be zoomed in to see if any new moles have formed or any old moles have changed. A
good system like this costs around $20,000. A figure that is very low compared to what all us dentists
have to fork out for equipment but very few Dermatologists are willing to spend Jack Sheeit for anything
( ; - ) ... But there are a few out there that are ... again do your research especially if you are a
person that has multitudes of moles other than in your front lawn ... (grin)
Below are more points of interest concerning mostly melanoma ... but Becky and I would be willing to have this
page become a place for folks with all types of cancers to send their experiences. A place that we can post
on a separate email page for others to read and not feel so alone and hopefully find some info and comfort.
I was not able to find a web site such as that on the internet yet.
- Plastic Surgeon Protocol Surgery for all Melanomas is recommended as the Standard of Care.
There seems to be a rift between Dermatologists and Plastic Surgeons on this. And we as Patients are caught in
the middle. My opinion is that we must take as much responsibility as possible for our own care and do our own
research. Be as able as possible to make decisions we are personally comfortable with. Buy our own PDR's
(Drug References - Available OTC). Gone are the days of the old style family physician that was all encompassing.
Had plenty of time to spend with each patient. No HMO's! Now it is a field of specialists and very few
that even communicate with each other!
I had a Plastic Surgeon do my large protocol melanoma removal on my stomach. He took everthing down to the top
of the abdominal muscle layer ... although the Dermatologist wanted to do it ... he was only going to take a
small football oval shaped section out. When it comes to melanomas I just think Plastic Surgeons are able
to do more and get into muscle and or bone and blood vessels if necessary.
- Prevention - Mole Mapping Computer Photography Systems such as Canfield's, etc.
- Possible Immune System Complications - Such as Prednisone Treatments.
This is very interesting and some what controversial and mostly anecdotal ... But .... a nurse friend that had
a melanoma reoccurence after 12 years and died shortly afterwards told me that she is convinced that her melanoma
had been kept in check all those years by her immune system and that when she had been put on prednisone
(an extreme immune & inflamitory suppressent and very strong corticosteroid) that it allowed the melanoma
to reappear with a vengeance! She asked that her opinion be told ... My oncologist thinks this is not
possible but ... I believe her and will never take strong corticosteroids. Prednisone is often given for
arthritis and must be given for certain auto immune diseases such as lupus.
- 5 Year Survival Without a Recurrence
Is considered the milestone in melanoma and many other cancer