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The incidence of melanoma has tripled in the last 30 years
and is one of the fastest growing cancers in Canada, health
specialists say. Indeed, advanced or metastatic melanoma is
the most aggressive and deadliest form of skin cancer with
half of patients surviving less than six months and only one
quarter surviving a year.
Recently, Health Canada approved a new, first-of-its-kind
treatment for metastatic melanoma, proven to significantly
extend the lives of patients. This new treatment, Yervoy, was
shown in a major study to extend survival, with almost half
of patients alive after one year and nearly a quarter surviving
two years. Some patients treated with Yervoy in the study
were still alive after more than four years.
Forty-year-old Derek Mason was in the final stages of mela-
noma when his doctor was able to enroll him in a clinical
trial for Yervoy. “Last year during my battle with melanoma
I wasn’t expecting to reach my 40th birthday or celebrate
Christmas, but I had hope that I
would beat this cancer and had
the will to fight it,”Mason said.
“Thanks to the new treatment I
am seeing progress and the mela-
noma, which had spread to many
parts of my body, is regressing.
I’m so thankful for my much im-
proved condition. I’m living each day to the fullest, enjoying
time with my wife and three young daughters.”
Medical specialists agree that Yervoy works in a unique way.
Unlike traditional cancer chemotherapy which introduces
toxins into the body to kill the cancer cells, this treatment
works indirectly by stimulating the body’s own immune
system to seek out and kill the cancer cells in the same way
the body attacks invading viruses and bacteria. This type of
approach is called immunotherapy.
Newly approved treatment extends survival
for people with deadly skin cancer
Source: News Canada