It's estimated that more than 8400 people will die from melanoma in 2008. But, if it's recognized and treated early, it is 100 percent curable.
A new procedure at Shands at UF is designed to treat patients who are suffering from recurring Melanoma or Sarcoma.
She's been cancer free for 18 months, but eight years ago Anne Ives received a frightening diagnosis.
"I noticed it looked like a wart on my lower arm, and it would keep bleeding no matter what I did so I saw a dermatologist , he excised it and said I'm sorry to say it's melanoma," said Ives.
But over the next few years, the melanoma came back. Traditional treatments just weren't working so her doctor offered one more suggestion.
"He said we really have no recourse," said Ives. "There's no other action we can take except the isolated limb infusion"
The isolated limb infusion is a minimally invasive procedure that delivers high doses of chemotherapy to recurrent melanoma. During treatment, heated chemo is delivered directly to the tumor.
"We believe that by delivering direct heat with the chemotherapy will help treat the melanoma more effectively," said UF Division of Surgical Oncology Dr. Stephen Grobmyer.
Dr. Grobmyer says the procedure is useful for patients who develop recurrent melanoma., and about two-thirds of patients see a significant benefit from the treatment.
"We're the first in the state of Florida to offer this treatment, and we're excited about the new opportunities to offer treatment options to patients with melanoma," said Grobmyer.
Ives says she couldn't be happier with the results.
"I spent three days in the hospital, had no ill effects," said Ives. "The arm did not swell. I was able to use my hand and did not have blisters on the arm. And, I'm here to say that I'm a cancer survivor."
If you'd like more information on isolated limb infusion, you can watch the podcast at www.shands.org.
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