Initial Oncologist appointment confirmed interferon alpha 2-b as only option for treatment. Our body naturally creates interferons. The treatment is designed to dramatically increase the level of interferons in the blood by using synthetic ones. The interferons work in conjunction with blood cells to supercharge them in the fight against cancer cells circulating in the blood. Because of the lymph nodes testing positive for cancer cells the likeliness the cells have entered the blood stream is very high. Interferon alpha 2-b treatment is the only one that has shown any consistent results with melanoma. The treatment statistically offers a 10% better chance that an internal tumor recurrence will not occur. The side effects are many and the treatment lasts for a year.
Extensive research led to the following items becoming a focus in my overall nutrition:
- Vitamin D3 2800iu per day
- Vitamin C 1000mg per day
- Womens Multi Vitamin per day
- Omega-3, EPA, & DHA through Fish Oil 1200mg per day
- Acai Berry Extract 1000mg per day
- Green Tea Extract 315mg per day
- Garlic 1000mg per day
- Vitalica 30 mg (sulforaphane glucoraphanin) same cancer fighting substance found in broccoli sprouts
- Foods: green leafy vegetables, broccoli (&sprouts), red and green peppers, carrots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, red grapes, blueberries, and red raspberries
My plastic surgeon (Dr. Robert G. Anderson) recommended a drug that has been shown to have immune boosting characteristics. Low dose Naltrexone is a drug that has been in use for many years in treatment of drug and alcohol addiction (50mg). It has been found that a much lower dose (4.5mg) taken once daily before bed can produce significant positive results with many diseases including cancer. The drug blocks endorphins from being secreted for several hours and as it wears off a surge of the endorphins are released. The endorphins are directly tied to immunity activity and in theory creates a surge or boost in immunity activity during sleep. This is an 'off label' use of the drug as it has not been FDA certified for this particular use. The drug will probably never be certified as such because the clinical trials are so expensive to complete and the drug has been off patent as a generic for so long that no drug company will spend the research dollars when in the end the new use would still be a generic that could not be patented. The main group of doctors supporting the use and many benefits of low dose Naltrexone maintain a website at www.lowdosenaltrexone.org. Began taking low dose Naltrexone on 3/13/10
A second opinion from another oncologist was arranged. Dr. Henry Xiong (oncologist) has 5 years of experience with MD Anderson heading clinical trials and is one of the medical directors for The Center for Cancer an Blood Disorders www.thecentertx.com. His feedback was candid and he reaffirmed many of the things we already knew. He gave a referral to MD Anderson to be seen by their melanoma specialist. The visit to MD Anderson is to explore any potential clinical trials that may take the place of interferon treatment or be used in conjuction with it. The current risk is having a tumor grow in an internal organ such as the brain or lungs. There is no treatment for such a tumor other than removing it if an operation is possible. Dr. Xiong stated, with interferon treatment, the 5 year outlook to be recurrence free is approx 70%.
Axillary lymph node dissection surgery is scheduled for the morning of 3/15/10 with vascular surgeon Dr. John Crawford at Harris Hospital, Downtown Fort Worth. Recovery is expected to be similar to previous surgery which was about 2 weeks. They are trying to arrange the appointment with MD Anderson after recovery but before the next appointment with Dr. Xiong on April 9th. That follow up will be to discuss MD Anderson feedback and make a decision on additional treatment going forward. The biopsy that will be performed on the dissected lymph nodes will reveal how many of the removed nodes had cancer cells in them. In theory the less nodes affected the better chance the cells have not spread to the blood. Although, we were advised the likeliness cancer cells have entered the blood stream is almost certain because of the single positive node in the prior biopsy.
Harvey & Erica Braden
Journal of our journey with a Metastatic Melanoma Diagnosis. Erica was diagnosed Stage 3 in January 2010 and then Stage 4 in April 2018.