Hope for Cancer Victims

Promising cancer treatment immunotherapy drug released by Bristol Myers is finishing up clinical trials and may be available in 2014 as a melanoma therapy.

The rise in the incidence of melanoma has been attributed to increased ultraviolet exposure among the populace who is using tanning beds and old fashioned sunbathing without adequate sun protection.

Melanoma is highly treatable if it is detected quickly enough, but there are cases where it is hard to find. Dermatologists report the incidence of moles and cancerous cells in places between toes and under fingernails, and cancers may also be under hair or otherwise not visible to a person, such as on the back, so a skin check is recommended on a periodic basis. Any unusual mole that is asymmetric or growing may be an indicator of melanoma. If the melanoma becomes metastatic, it can spread to other organs in the body from the skin, and from that point it becomes more difficult to treat and can even eventually become fatal, which is why early detection is critical.

Immunotherapy Treatments for Melanoma

In combination with another immunotherapy drug ipilimumab, nivolumab shows good results in patients with recurring malignancies. One of the problems with many therapies, and with treating the cancer itself, is that the cancer uses the body's own defenses to help cells thrive and grow. These treatments block this response and allow for the treatment of the cancer itself.