Melanoma - Stage IV
This testimonial includes a description of this patient’s actual medical results. Those results may not be typical or expected for the particular disease type described in this testimonial. You should not expect to experience these results.
View CTCA treatment results for prevalent cancers we treat
In 1994, when I was in my early 20s, I had a mole removed from my lower calf. After the simple procedure, I never thought about it again. Sixteen years later, in 2009, a small growth appeared just above my right collarbone at the base of my neck. A laboratory examination of biopsy revealed not only that the tumor was malignant, but that I had stage IV metastatic melanoma.
The surgeon referred me to a former colleague of his at a prestigious cancer center. There, the experts would review my diagnostic records and recommend a treatment program. But that straightforward plan turned out to be much harder to follow than I expected.
The oncologist told me that his plan of attack would be local lymph node resection combined with high-dose radiation. Although I had not done any research about treatment options on my own, I was not ready to agree to this plan, so I decided instead to return home to discuss the proposed approach with my family.
Back at home, I began fervently researching other options. The spouse of my cousin was a patient at the Oklahoma location of Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), and at their urging, I decided to call. Soon enough, I was off to Tulsa for an initial consultation. I felt comfortable immediately and knew that I wanted to be treated there.
Interestingly, a PET/CT scan taken at CTCA® showed no evidence of cancer in the right neck/shoulder region at that time. Led by Dr. Ted Pollock, my Care Team came up with a plan that I was ready to try. I was treated with chemotherapy. In 2012, an oral treatment for metastatic melanoma became available, and I have been taking this drug since its approval.
The treatment has come with some side effects. I’ve experienced rashes, hair loss, dry skin and joint discomfort, along with fatigue that was at times quite severe. But with the help of my Care Team, I have been able to persist with the treatment. The side effects became less severe over time, and I have also been motivated by the normal PET/CT results that I have had for more than a year.
The Journey Continues
Today, I am continuing with the oral medication and am feeling well. The doctors, nurses and other professionals at CTCA have paid such careful attention to my health since I began treatment there. The patient-centered approach carries a level of commitment that I have found to be important.
From the concierge to the cafeteria, from the transportation to the infusion lab, I have never felt alone at CTCA. Sometimes these small details feel just as healing as the medication and I am equally grateful for both.