ImagePointFr/ShutterstockAvoiding skin cancer isn’t always as simple as lathering on the SPF 70 and wearing a floppy hat. Self-examination can prove to be a lifesaver, but for those that don’t manage to catch the early signs of skin cancer in time, staring down the barrel of a melanoma diagnosis can be a scary prospect. But according to The Sun, a new drug has been developed which could really flip the numbers in favor of late stage melanoma patients.
When it comes to melanoma, the issues don’t disappear once the initial tumor is removed. In stage three of the disease, there is a 40 to 70 percent chance that cancer will spread to other organs even after the removal of the malignant mass.
Researchers at the Melanoma Institute of Australia conducted two drug trials with patients in stage three of the disease who had recently undergone cancer-removal surgery. One trial implemented targeted therapies which employed trametinib and dabrafenib, drugs meant to target a gene mutation that spreads the cancer, and another trial employed two immunotherapy drugs. Both trials were conducted over a 12-month period. The first trial lowered the risk of melanoma returning by 53 percent, while the second trial saw a reduction of 35 percent.
Professor Georgia Long, the lead author of the study, spoke to the revolutionary nature of the research, via The Sun.
“This will change how melanoma is treated around the world, as we no longer have to passively wait to see if the melanoma spreads…We can now actively and effectively attack the melanoma at an earlier stage, reducing the dreadful anxiety for patients about progressing to a potentially terminal illness and ensuring they have much better outcomes.”
Since the study has only recently been published, the therapies will take some time to trickle down to every patient, but the results are incredibly encouraging. As always, prevention is key, and staying informed on the facts of skin cancer can prove to be one of the best weapons in the battle against the disease.
[Source: The Sun]