Posted by: cg00n | June 9, 2008

Interferon

The next “big” decision I have to make, in about 3 weeks, is whether or not to opt for interferon adjutant therapy. From what I understand interferon is not a “chemo” in the usual chemotherapy sense. It is supposed to give the immune system a kick and help it to recognize melanoma. This is pretty much the only thing that (at present) appears to have any generalized success in treating this cancer – apart from surgery, that is. The problem is that it doesn’t work all that well and it has various nasty side effects in some people. The oncologist and my pathologist friend who sees a lot of cancer stuff go by suggest that the treatment + side effects < gain in quality of life. They both say they would not go for it and my inclination is to agree with them. Who knows? If this thing ever recurs (and I am at moderate risk of having that happen) there may be a better treatment available by that time.

A good overview of the whole thing can be found here if you feel you have time to digest it. The authors conclude that it probably is worthwhile to accept the risks of the treatment, but that declining to do so is a perfectly reasonable option. It would be great if there were a clear-cut answer to this question but like most things to do with melanoma and many other things in life there is uncertainty. I’m getting used to it. By the time I die I might just have this figured out; but maybe not.

Meanwhile my foot continues to improve. There is little or no discharge from the grafts, there is less discomfort than last week and I can hobble limited distances on it without too much effort. There is a large scab covering part of the “patch” on my heel and <cue ominous music> we’re not sure what it is hiding. However I’ll be seeing the plastic surgeon next Tuesday and doubtless he will have something to say about it. I also have an appointment with the general surgeon this Friday to discuss the pros and cons of further lymph node removal. More news as it becomes available.

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Responses

  1. This is not my area of expertise though can understand how difficult it must be to make the decision.

  2. […] excision.  I have explained why I am reluctant to go for the full course one year treatment in the Interferon and Where I’m Coming From postings. However, I have heard that there is a short course […]


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