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New Treatments for Melanoma

New Treatments for Melanoma

New treatments for melanoma are proving effective in stopping the disease re-occurring which is good news for New Zealanders as the cancer is one of our biggest killers.

Professor John Thompson from the Sydney Melanoma Unit will present the results of new research today at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Annual Scientific Meeting in Auckland.

“Surgery still remains the key to successful melanoma management, ROUTINE chemotherapy is generally ineffective and immunotherapy has not yet been shown to be of value.

“Where we do have some exciting results is in the treatment of recurrent melanomas on the limbs. In the past the treatment was a huge surgical procedure involving a 4-6 hours operation with a heart lung bypass, this new procedure takes 45 minutes.

“Now we are being more effective with infusing the drugs right into the effected area and our results has shown that 50 per cent of our patients with recurrent melanoma in the limb go into complete remission

“They can also get up and start walking within a day, in the past they would have been in hospitals for much longer but this surgery is less invasive and the patients recover much faster.

“We are also having great results with secondary melanoma of the liver, which in the past has been impossible to treat effectively. Using the same technique we have seen a dramatic reduction in liver secondary within six weeks.

“Again we are injecting a high dosage of drugs right into the effected area in the liver. The blood is removed from the liver and passed through a filtration system. This gets rid of the residual drug and avoids serious side effects

“This is repeated every four weeks over six months and results have been quite dramatic.”

In New Zealand, melanoma is the third most common cancer in women and the fourth most common cancer in men. It also tends to effect younger people.

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