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surgery vs. immunotherapy

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surgery vs. immunotherapy

Posted By
Bill w
12/14/2019 7:33pm
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Replies: 5

hi all. my husband recently diagnosed with metastatic melanoma. this seems to be from a melanoma he had removed surgically in 2013. he has a 3x4 cm. tumor in his lower left lung lobe and 2 lymph nodes up near his bronchial area. he is considering having the tumor and lymph nodes removed. he is also considering immunotherapy.
Have any of you had similar experience and if so, what worked for you? We do realize it will pop up somewhere else at some point
Thanks for your thoughts!

bill w

Bubbles - (12/14/2019 - 9:38pm)

I've done both! I had a tumor removed, via surgical removal of the right upper lobe of my lung, and a brain tumor zapped with radiation in 2010 and followed that with participation in a nivolumab (Opdivo) trial and remain NED for melanoma with no further treatment to this day. Since those early trials, we've learned a great deal about immunotherapy - including the fact that it works best with the lowest tumor burden and when combined with radiation in patients for whom that is needed and/or an option. I'm sure many others will chime in with their experiences. Wishing you both my best. Celeste

lkb - (12/15/2019 - 12:46am)

I had two partial neck dissections; local recurrence within a year after the first and within weeks of the second. Surgery no longer an option, but I've been helped greatly by Pembro infusions and intralesional injections of IL-12 (trial), plus one targeted radiation treatment (brain). Five tumors 12 months ago; 1 tumor now. Hope that info is helpful. Wishing you and your husband the best!

October 2017 primary scalp WLE; SLNB; partial neck dissection (PND). July 2018 recurrence in neck. August 2018 second PND. September 2018 started Nivo. December 2018 SRS for brain met January 2019 Pisces trial IL-12 + Pembro. .


Hi Bill, i had a very similar situation as your husband, diagnosed in 2008, had numerous surgeries like every year & a half to Mel tumors that would pop up & seem to only want to live in my left leg (including groins lymphnodes) but, by 2017 they migrated to my lungs and was faced with the very same question, Surgery or Immunal Therapy? (Apparently radiation doesnt work well with lung mets so, that was outta the game plan) i chose Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)... Think this Bill, Immunal therapy takes a little time, Surgeries are "instant", your walking out the hospital tumor free assuming they can get to them, or get all of them (clean margins is the goal).. its a rough gig we have even for spouses caregivers & family, our fight is your fight & it sure makes it a lot easier....

What doesn't kill you only makes you wanna Go After It And Kill It!

maryb-z - (12/15/2019 - 3:54pm)

I have had several surgeries since 2009. I am currently entering my second year of Opdivo. Hoping this gives me a longer reprieve from the beast. Best of luck and prayers to your hubby.

No One Fights Alone

Anonymous - (12/15/2019 - 10:55pm)

“Considered it” makes I it sound like a choice which I guess it is but not to many people will view it that way. When my original melanoma was diagnosed (2012, 2B) 5 year survival rates where reported as 5%. I was sure it was fatal.

Well, it did reoccur and I am doing all of those things and will probably do all those things, forever? I don’t know. In short, I feel like a mule who is always being kicked. It hurts, so I move until one day I sit down and stop.

For my melanoma, I’ve had a crainiotomy, brain radiation, and 4 doses of the combo. No major side effects. I go on single dose therapy this week. I think you’ll find most oncologist recommend attacking from multiple fronts. PS. I’m still primarily symptom-free from the actual melanoma. I have a number of side effects from brain surgery three times because of an alternate, unrelated, earlier brain tumor.

Best of luck.