Good news for Jimmy Carter, but long road for other melanoma patients:

New therapies have revolutionized melanoma treatment, but we still have a long way to go to discover a cure.

president carterFormer president Jimmy Carter recently announced that all signs of his Stage IV metastatic melanoma have disappeared. The melanoma was first observed in his liver and advanced to four lesions in his brain, but he announced that his latest scan showed no signs of any cancer. This is welcome news both for Carter and for patients with melanoma.

Carter, 91, one of a large number of people with melanoma, has increasing company in undergoing successful treatment, thanks to many new available therapies. Each year 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in our country, with some 70,000 individuals diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form.

The sad truth is that until just the last few years, melanoma was a backwater in terms of research focused on ways to treat and perhaps ultimately cure the disease. A diagnosis of metastatic melanoma, once it began to spread, was a death decree.

This unfortunate situation has begun to change. In 2011, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved new melanoma therapies for the first time in several decades. Since then, a total of 11 innovative therapies for melanoma have come to market — including three since Carter’s diagnosis just a few months ago.

Key among cutting-edge treatments are immunotherapies — approaches that energize a patient’s immune system, including the drug Keytruda that was administered to Carter, as well as another similar drug treatment, Opdivo. Targeted drugs for patients whose melanoma harbors specific mutations provide another treatment option and demonstrate the power of precision medicine. Further, clinical studies of new drugs in various combinations are advancing to bring ever greater benefit to patients.

.Column witten by: Debra Black and Robin Davisson 5:35 p.m. EST December 23, 2015.

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More on this topic: article from CNN

UPDATE 3/7/2016:  Washington Post – Jimmy Carter Says He No Longer Needs Treatment.

POSTED BY jadmin | Jan, 02, 2016 |
TAGS : educating JimmyCarter Keytruda medical melanoma