In June 2016, following the removal of a dodgy mole from my back, I was diagnosed with stage 2c melanoma cancer. This was the start of a journey that introduced me to the fantastic team at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
Please read and follow my story at www.shomelanoma.com
From my initial diagnosis, my Melanoma developed from stage 2c to stage 4 within the space of 9 months. As little as five years ago, a stage 4 diagnosis provided an average life expectancy of between 6-9 months; traditional cancer treatments were simply not effective in treating stage 4 Melanoma.
Fortunately with on-going research, clinical trials and the development and use of immunotherapy and targeted treatment, for a number of patients the outlook for a longer life is much brighter. More however needs to be done to better understand Melanoma and why some patients respond to immunotherapy treatment and why some don't and to identify and treat the potentially serious adverse effects of the immunotherapy. In June 2017 I suffered extreme autoimmune hepatitis due to the immunotherapy treatment and I spent 3 weeks in hospital to get it stabilised followed by 6 months on steroid treatment. In Dec 2017 unfortunately a new small tumour was located in my brain and I started on the targeted treatment Debrafinib and Trametinib which targets the BRAF gene in my melanoma and stops it spreading. It is currently controlling my melanoma. Unfortunately there currently remains no known cure.
My treatment is at the cutting edge and the team at the Royal Marsden are right at the forefront of it. I want to help raise funds to specifically help in the future research and development of effective treatment for patients with Melanoma. All funds raised will be allocated to the research and development fund administered by my oncologist Professor James Larkin. After 18 months of fundraising we have raised over £35,000 and details of how the funds are being used can be found on my blog. We are hugely thankful to everyone who has supported and donated to all of the fundraising activities.
The Royal Marsden was founded in 1851 as the first hospital in the world dedicated not only to the treatment of cancer, but the research into the causes. This work continues to this day, with a focus on research into the latest cancer treatments and techniques, ensuring that patients have access to pioneering treatments.
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