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Meet Doug: Melanoma Survivor

Guest blog post by Doug Brodman, Stage IV melanoma survivor and member of the MRF Board:

It has been 7 years since I was diagnosed with melanoma. Beginning with a tumor discovery, turning toward surgery as a solution then radiation as a preventative measure left me with limited options when it was discovered that the melanoma had metastasized to Stage IV. With few options available and survival rates running at about 15%, research trials in immunotherapy were beginning to occur involving the latest thinking of using sequential treatment of a combination of drugs.

My doctors recommended a clinical research trial using a new combination therapy that they had a high degree of confidence in: nivolumab, the trial drug, and ipilimumab, an approved immunotherapy drug. Understanding the risks involved with new therapies, some known and some to be learned, with cancer having spread to vital organs beyond the initial site, it was worth the risk.

Over a 9-month period, progress was made but I did incur a toxic reaction to the drugs which prohibited me from continuing with the drug infusions. Fortunately, I did recover and the therapy continued to work helping my immune system battle the cancer. As a result, I was determined to be No Evidence of Disease (NED) after my 21-month journey. Most importantly, the learnings from my reactions and outcome have helped and will continue to improve the odds for future melanoma patients receiving immunotherapy.

I am happy to see that immunotherapy has significantly improved the odds of survival and truly happy to have been a participant in learning the success that is possible in finding a cure for melanoma. 

The MRF is committed to advancing the life-saving research that leads to new treatments, better patient outcomes and hope for the melanoma community. Your support makes this work possible; please consider a tax-deductible gift today: