About Melanoma » Melanoma Stories
Melanoma has affected the Botica family intimately, and when mom Christine was diagnosed with stager IV disease in August of 2011, she sought treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Center with Dr. Stephen Hodi, the same doctor who had cared for her sister. “A melanoma diagnosis is frightening at any stage,” says Christine. “But I knew I would receive extraordinary care from Dr. Hodi, who is not only a devoted physician, but one of the world’s leading melanoma researchers.”Read more.
I am not a religious person, but the best equation I can make to waiting for scan results is sitting in purgatory, waiting for someone to decree if you’ll be going to heaven or hell. It is like that every single time. It’s not a routine medical exam. It’s not a necessary hassle. It is a time when you are waiting to find out if you get to keep living or if you may be one step closer to death. Even if you aren’t in active treatment, even if every previous scan has showed favorable results, each time you wait you are reminded that at any point your life could drastically change. And that is the reality of “surviving” stage IV melanoma.Read more.
As a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Children’s Hospital in Boston, Leonard Zon says, “I certainly never expected I would end up working with fish.” Dr. Zon studies a unique organism: the zebrafish. This one and a half inch fish happens to have a gene set that is very similar to the human gene set. Zon is a pioneer in the zebrafish field and chose to model human diseases using this fish because, “the zebrafish embryo is completely clear, providing a ‘real time’ view of all organs and systems as they develop.” With 3,000 tanks in his lab, he has one of the largest aquaria in the world.Read more.
"In 2007, I was diagnosed with Stage II melanoma despite being under the care of a top dermatologist. For several years I had been told the bleeding spot on the bottom of my foot was a wart. After several skin grafts and a difficult physical and emotional recovery, I was horrified to discover the prognosis for advanced stage melanoma had not improved over the past 40 years.Read more.
On May 4, 2012, I took my nine-year-old daughter Alyssa to the dermatologist for a second time. In 2009 they had removed a Spitz nevus from her thigh area. At the time we were told that a Spitz nevus is not harmful, but since they can turn cancerous and since experts have a difficult time differentiating them from melanoma, they are typically removed. This time, we were there for a couple of spots that had grown since she started growth hormones the previous March since she is also short stature. Many spots were checked and okayed, but one of the spots “looked suspicious,” and so they did a biopsy. It was a small red, raised area on her left forearm. We were told at the time that skin cancer doesn’t happen in kids under 13. Alyssa was 9, so it was nothing to really worry about. A few weeks later, the dermatologist called to say it was melanoma.Read more.