Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that develops in the pigment-producing melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis. Risk for developing melanoma is influenced by several factors including exposure to radiation from sunshine, skin type, age and sex.
If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable. However, melanoma is responsible for a majority of skin cancer related deaths, because it may spread to other sites of the body, where it becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 87,110 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in the U.S. last year – and approximately 9,730 people died from the disease. Of the many types of skin cancer, melanoma is the most serious and has also become increasingly common, with incidence rates growing by nearly 50% over approximately 15 years.
Despite developments in the therapeutic landscape for melanoma patients, treatment gaps remain. In fact, around seven out of 10 patients with stage III melanoma do not receive treatment following surgery to help prevent the disease from coming back. And even with available treatment options, the majority of stage IIIB and IIIC patients experience disease recurrence within five years.
To address needs across this patient population, a new treatment option was recently approved for use in people with melanoma whose cancer and affected lymph nodes have been surgically removed. This new therapy stems from an innovative area of research called Immuno-Oncology.
Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer at Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), joined me to share insights into the experience of people living with melanoma, including those who have dealt with recurrence.
In addition, Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D., Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center at NYU Langone Health, New York, discussed the importance of post-surgery treatment in melanoma and how this new therapeutic option may help prevent melanoma from coming back after complete removal of the cancer and affected lymph nodes.
Take a listen, and for more information, visit www.OPDIVO.com.
Jeffrey S. Weber, M.D.: Dr. Weber is the deputy director of the Perlmutter Cancer Center, and also serves as codirector of the Melanoma Research Program, overseeing work in experimental therapeutics. He is an investigator on Opdivo® (nivolumab) clinical trials and has previously acted as a consultant for Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D.: Dr. Perkins has been the Chief Science Officer at MRA since 2013. Dr. Perkins’ responsibilities are guiding MRA’s scientific strategy and overseeing peer-reviewed grant-making and scientific collaborations. The MRA has received grants from Bristol-Myers Squibb for programs such as research and patient education.