Category: Melanoma Stories
Melanoma Leaves a Mark – but Not Always the One You Think
Melanoma is no stranger to University of Delaware Senior Samantha Stinchcomb. In fact, this silent killer has been part of her life for the last 11 years – over half her life. She learned the hard way, at the sobering age of 13, that melanoma ‘isn’t just skin cancer’ when her father lost his three year battle with the disease. Since then, Samantha has been diligent about her own skin – and has had 16 precancerous moles removed. “It took my father, my best friend, from this earth and my life. In the almost 8 years since my dad’s been gone,” said Samantha. “I’ve also learned melanoma doesn’t plan on getting out of my life anytime soon.”
Embrace Your Skin and Don't Be Anything that You Aren't
This freckled red head was never meant to be tan, but it didn’t stop her from trying. Stefani Schuetz just wanted that ‘perfect glow’ that she hoped would help her fit in after moving to Florida. She was training for a triathalon – a race requiring swimming, cycling, and running – with her sister when everything changed. Her sister thought she saw a bug on the back of her leg – but this bug turned out to be much worse. Instead of a bug, Stefani found a suspect mole that she’d never noticed before. She knew she had to get it checked out, but money was tight for this single Mom; it took her four months to make it to the dermatologist for a biopsy.
Libby Kistler: “I’m Still Here”
Statistically, Libby Kistler shouldn’t be here. She was diagnosed with Stage IIIB melanoma in 2005, before treatment for late-stage melanoma was transformed by immuno- and targeted therapies in 2011.
Melanoma is Determined, So is Eric
After 7 clinical trials, 8 surgeries, and more infusions than he can count --- Eric Martin is still here, seven years after being diagnosed with melanoma. He has had ups and downs and has tried practically every FDA-approved therapy for melanoma – but the crux of this story, which all readers need to understand, is that Eric’s fight isn’t yet finished. That’s because unlike many of the stories featured by MRA – Eric is still searching for his silver bullet and the elusive letters N.E.D. (no evidence of disease). He’s got big plans and melanoma isn’t going to get in the way. In short, Eric is a melanoma warrior.
"I Thought I Knew Myself, but I Missed It."
Jim can’t say enough about his dermatologist who was able to detect his melanoma early enough so that more invasive treatment wasn’t necessary. “I see myself every day. I thought I knew myself, but I missed it. I see her twice a year, and those visits are quick, but she didn’t miss it. She was all over it.” The vigilance of his dermatologist may have saved Jim’s life.
The Hidden Costs of Cancer
The National Cancer Institute estimates that between 33 and 80% of cancer survivors exhaust their savings to finance their medical expenses. Up to three percent of survivors file for bankruptcy, 260 times more frequently than similar households not affected by cancer. Not only is this financially devastating for families, this hardship was the strongest predictor of the quality of life for cancer survivors.
Connecting the Dots – Clinical Trials and Patient Engagement
MRA is thrilled to announce the launch of the Melanoma > Exchange, a melanoma treatment and research focused discussion group and support community. Through the Melanoma > Exchange, anyone touched by Melanoma can find support, ask questions, and build community among people who share a similar experience.
“Hands down, I’m alive today because of clinical trials”
Jamie Goldfarb didn’t think of herself as having cancer. Yes, she had been diagnosed with Stage II melanoma four years earlier and Stage III the following year, but the surgeries to remove it had been successful. The PET scans that followed had been normal. This wasn’t supposed to be happening. Jamie was now a tired new mom with an eleven-week old baby and she was ready to get back to work. But, her world would turn upside down when she learned that not only was melanoma back, but it had progressed to Stage IV and spread to her liver and pancreas.
Ten Years of Powerful Research and Results
In 2007, when Debra Black was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma, there were few treatment options. In fact, for those diagnosed with late-stage melanoma, only two FDA-Approved treatment options existed, and they only provided a 16% chance at five-year survival. After dealing with her own health concerns, she and her husband knew that they could-and needed- to do more. That’s why later that year they worked with Mike Milken to found MRA and transform the melanoma landscape.
“Seeing his Family Grow-Up Thanks to the Promise of Clinical Trials”
In August 2012, T.J. Sharpe walked into the emergency room with a fever. He’d been ill for a couple of days and didn’t want to get his four-week old son sick if he could avoid it. Sixteen days later, he left a full 30 pounds lighter and with a stage IV melanoma diagnosis.
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