RARE MELANOMAS, REAL PEOPLE: MEET DAVID
Kellie Gardner, David Marx, Linda Marx, and Dr. Michael Atkins
David Marx was shocked when he was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma in 2018. He always thought melanoma was ‘skin cancer’ and had no idea it could develop in areas that aren’t regularly exposed to the sun like his toenail.
Following surgery to remove his primary melanoma and affected lymph nodes, David’s oncologist, chair of MRA’s Medical Advisory Panel, Dr. Michael Atkins suggested adjuvant therapy. Adjuvant therapy is additional treatment given after surgery, with the goal of reducing the risk of melanoma returning. For patients with Stage 3 melanoma like David, up to 60% will relapse within three years of surgical resection without adjuvant therapy.1
After talking with Dr. Atkins, David and his wife Linda decided to move forward with monthly infusions of the immunotherapy, nivolumab. He began a year-long course of adjuvant therapy about five weeks after surgery.
“The side effects I’ve experienced - itchiness and feeling tired have been a minor inconvenience,” says David. “I also know that I’m doing everything I can to keep melanoma from returning."
1 Long, Georgina. “Adjuvant Dabrafenib plus Trametinib in Stage III BRAF-Mutated Melanoma.” The New England Journal of Medicine. (Nov. 9, 2017)