Tag Archives: Melanoma

New Guidance on Lymph Node Removal for Melanoma Patients

New Guidance on Lymph Node Surgery
New Guidance on Lymph Node Surgery

Aggressive surgery has often been the preferred approach for patients in whom melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes. Results of a recent trial suggest that a conservative treatment of watchful waiting may actually be more beneficial.

Is Completion Surgery Necessary?

Once a patient is diagnosed with melanoma, the traditional procedure has been to conduct a sentinel lymph node biopsy. If cancer cells are detected, the next step is usually immediate removal of the remaining regional lymph nodes in the surrounding area.

Surgery vs. Watchful Waiting

MSLT-II involved 1,934 participants who had been diagnosed with skin melanoma of medium thickness that had spread to sentinel lymph nodes but nowhere else in the body. Half underwent immediate lymph node removal surgery while the other half were monitored for signs of cancer in the regional lymph nodes.

After three years, 86 percent of patients in each group had not succumbed to melanoma. In addition, 68 percent of the surgery group and 63 percent of the monitored group had not experienced any recurrence of cancer.

Greater Risk of Complications

While difference in recurrence rate was negligible, the surgery group was found to be far more susceptible to complications. Those patients were approximately four times more likely to experience lymphedema, which is a buildup of excess lymph fluid that causes swelling.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: State-of-the-Art Treatment

We have successfully treated patients with melanoma and other forms of cancer in both early and late stages. Contact us to learn more about Issels® and our individually developed, non-toxic immunotherapy for cancer programs.

UV Exposure and the Skin Cancer Connection

Sun Exposure and Cancer
Sun Exposure and Cancer

Exposure to ultra-violet (UV) rays can have more serious consequences than a painful sunburn. UV rays from both natural and man-made sources can increase risk of developing skin cancer.

How UV Rays Damage Skin

While UV rays come primarily from the sun, they contain more energy than visible light. Man-made sources of UV rays include tanning beds and welding torches.

UV rays are powerful enough to ionize atoms by removing an electron, which is how they cause damage to DNA in body cells. But they don’t have enough energy to penetrate to organs and other internal tissues, which is why their effect is seen mostly on skin.

UV Ray Wavelengths

The three types of UV rays are:

  • UVA rays, which are the weakest of the three and linked more to cosmetic damage such as wrinkles than to skin cancer.
  • UVB rays, which are slightly stronger and the main cause of sunburns and skin cancer.
  • UVC rays, which have the most energy but are prevented from reaching the ground by the ozone layer.

Preventing UV Ray Exposure

A certain amount of sunshine is necessary for good health, but protect yourself by applying sunscreen to exposed parts of your body when you’re outside for extended periods. Avoid peak hours of 11 AM until 4 PM and stay in the shade when possible.

Immunotherapy for Cancer: Restoring the Body’s Natural Defenses

At Issels®, our integrative immunotherapy treatments boost your own immune system’s ability to fight cancer. Contact us for more information to learn how immunotherapy for cancer has helped patients diagnosed with skin cancer, melanoma and other types of tumors.

People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma – What to Know

People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma - What to Know
People of Color Can Still Get Skin Cancer and Melanoma – What to Know

A commonly-held misconception is that people of color have little risk of developing skin cancer. It’s true that melanoma occurs less frequently, but the consequences of skin cancer among African Americans are more serious than most realize.

How Melanoma Affects People of Color

Data from a study published last July in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that people of color are most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma in its later stages, resulting in worse prognoses and lower overall survival rates.

Many believe that the higher percentage of melanin in darker skin protects from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. A recent survey revealed that 63 percent of African Americans never use sunscreen, despite the fact that they actually can be susceptible to sunburn.

Causes and Warning Signs of Melanoma

Genetics and environmental factors also play a role in the development of melanoma, as they did with iconic reggae singer Bob Marley. The Jamaican native died at the age of 36 from acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), a form of cancer that appears on the palms of hands and the soles of feet.

Dr. Martitza I. Perez, senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, recommends that people of all ethnicities watch for the warning signs of melanoma:

• A sore or growth that doesn’t heal

• An ulcer or scaly red patch that crusts or bleeds

• Moles that are asymmetrical, larger than a pencil eraser, or display any sign of change

Cutting-Edge Immunotherapy for Cancer at Issels®

Our immunotherapy for cancer treatments have been effective against melanoma and many other types of tumors. Contact us to learn more.

National Cancer Institute Launches Mole vs Melanoma Info Site

Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?
Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

It’s important to understand the difference between common moles that often occur on the skin and melanomas. To the untrained eye, the two can look very similar, and they can result in people either worrying unnecessarily about the condition of their skin or overlooking skin irregularities that require immediate medical attention.

At Issels®, we’ve worked with many people who have been diagnosed with melanoma, and immunotherapy has been shown to be a very promising alternative to traditional cancer treatments. Even so, identification remains a serious challenge, and the National Cancer Institute has come up with a tool to help.

The Moles to Melanoma Tool

The Moles to Melanoma tool from the National Cancer Institute provides individuals with pictures that help to understand the three types of moles that can appear on the human body. They are:

  • Common Moles
  • Dysplastic Nevi (or DN)
  • Melanoma

Common moles are those that are non-cancerous, and their characteristics are not a cause for concern. Dysplastic Nevi moles are those that aren’t cancerous, but that possess qualities that would cause doctors to keep an eye on them for any changes that could indicate melanoma. Finally, melanoma is characterized by moles that fit into the ABCDE category of identification.

Are You Concerned About Melanoma?

If your family has a history of melanoma, or if you have moles that cause you to be concerned, this tool can be very useful for you. However, it’s important to remember that no diagnostic tool should ever take the place of a professional diagnosis from an experienced physician.

At Issels, melanoma can be treated with non-toxic melanoma immunotherapy. Contact us to learn more.

What Every Person Should Know About Melanoma

Fighting Melanoma
Fighting Melanoma

The word “cancer” is something everyone dreads hearing, but in the case of a type of cancer known as melanoma, it can feel like a death sentence. Here at Issels®, we have had great success in treating our patients with immunotherapy; even those who have received late diagnoses and feel like they’ve lost hope. Even so, there are some things you should be aware of about melanoma and how it can progress.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and most of the time, patients are the first ones to detect that there is something abnormal about their skin. As you can probably guess, there are different types of melanomas, but the most serious is called melanoma IQ. This type of cancer can metastasize and spread to various parts of the body, including to internal organs.

In order to identify a case of melanoma, doctors use the ABCDE method prior to doing a biopsy. They check for:

A – Asymmetry

B – Border irregularity

C – Colors that change throughout a mole

D – Diameter that’s larger than 6mm

E – Evolving over time

These indicators are enough to cause most physicians to seek out a biopsy.

Prevention is always the answer when it comes to any type of cancer. Immunotherapy for cancer offers us much hope, but it’s important to know your risk factors so that you can detect it early on. For example, if you are Caucasian, and you have light skin, hair and eyes, you are at an increased risk. You’re also at risk if you spend a lot of time in the sun. Issels® can help you with immunotherapy for cancer.

Find out more about the Issels cancer treatment programs using cutting-edge immunotherapy programs today.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month – Wear the Black Ribbon

Melanoma Awareness
Melanoma Awareness

Do you believe that melanoma is a “lesser” form of cancer? Maybe you think monitoring and removing moles is sufficient defense against this disease.

The truth is that immunotherapy for cancer is often needed to fight these tumors, which can be more serious than you realize. As people don black ribbons in May to support Melanoma Awareness Month, it’s a good time to present some facts that may surprise you.

  1. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer.

While melanoma occurs less frequently than carcinoma, survival rates are much lower. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one American dies of melanoma each hour, but the good news is that it’s highly treatable with early detection.

  1. Melanoma frequently affects young adults.

Some people mistakenly associate cancer with old age. In the case of melanoma, it’s the most common form of cancer among young adults between 25 and 29, and the second most common in ages 15 to 29.

  1. Melanoma can develop independent of moles and sun exposure.

Having a lot of moles may increase your risk for melanoma, but it can also occur in the absence of moles. Melanoma is sometimes found between fingers and toes, in the underarm, and other areas that get little or no sun exposure.

If you have been diagnosed with melanoma, Issels® offers immunotherapy for cancer that is tailored to meet the needs of your individual case. Contact us today for information about our cancer vaccines, gene-targeted therapies and other non-toxic treatments.