On Wednesday I had the pleasure of speaking with the founder of www.saveyourskin.ca: Kathy, a melanoma survivor since 2003 who is working hard with U.S. and Canadian Oncologists as well as the Canadian government as a patient advocate, to increase awareness of rapidly evolving melanoma treatments. She is a positive role model and an ambitious fighter who seems very on top of her game, throwing around terms that I am just learning. She encouraged me to do my homework.
I have spent part of today watching the webinars on her website, and I am astounded. I love hearing the oncologist speak about treatments for melanoma, past therapies and current therapies - including the one I am currently taking (ipilimumab) - as well as research ongoing into new(to Canada) treatments such as PD-1 Inhibitors.
The first webinar is about 37 minutes long - go grab a coffee and check it out if you are interested in hearing Dr. Infante (Nashville, TN) discuss in detail the current research and findings as of September 2013. It is intensely medical-speak, so if you don't want to I will not be offended, just want to share with anyone who wishes to learn more about my pacmen and how they work and what they might do for me in the future.
Around the 17-minute mark of this slide show he begins to speak about ipilimumab or "Ipi" which explains some things I did not know before, and it gives me a different perspective with which to ask my oncologist questions.
If you do watch this, just keep in mind that in genetic testing to date, I am BRAF negative, and NRAS negative.
What I take from this talk, is that even with being negative for those genetic mutations, though I may be ineligible for some of the targeted therapy they discuss, there is still plenty of hope and possibility that I could receive benefit from the therapies being developed, including the ones meant for BRAF positive. Every patient case is unique. They seem to be approaching each one with an open mind, as I feel my medical oncologist at Sunnybrook does with me.
If you do not have stomach for this kind of stuff, or if you think it will worry you, please just close my blog now and ignore this post. Thank you! :-)
The Evolution of Combination Strategies in the Treatment of Melanoma