Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared the first drug to prolong survival of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The physicians at South Shore Skin Center and Spa, one of the most progressive practices for medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology in Massachusetts, weigh in on what it means to patients with melanoma.
“The breakthrough cancer medication from Bristol-Myers Squibb is Yervoy and it is specifically for patients with late-stage or metastatic melanoma. This is an exciting new weapon in the fight against skin cancer. We have two drugs out there that are used in the treatment of stage 3 and stage 4 melanoma – Interferon (which was approved a decade ago) and Dacarbazine. Yervoy is the first medication shown to prolong survival,” explained Dr. Ramzi Saad, M.D., dermatologist at South Shore Skin Center and Spa.
He continued, “ Yervoy is going to be a promising option for many. It prolongs life by six and a half months or more. The big issue is the significant side effect profile. But, Yervoy will undergo further rigorous testing to define it’s optimal use on melanoma patients.”
Over the past two years, South Shore Skin Center and Spa has seen a significant increase in the number of South Shore and Cape Cod patients at their practice being diagnosed with stage 1 and stage 2 melanoma. The doctors at South Shore Skin Center and Spa believe that one of the potential directions that may be taken with Yervoy is that it could be given to patients in the earlier stages (stage 1 or stage 2 melanoma) for protective results as well as for greater results in prolonging survival.
According to South Shore Skin Center and Spa’s dermatologists, early detection is imperative in the prevention and treatment of melanoma. If undetected and untreated, melanoma can quickly spread to the major organs and lymph nodes.
“Skin cancer is primarily caused by prolonged exposure to Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun or from tanning booths. UVA and UVB rays are present in tanning booths as well as on cloudy days and exposed skin is left vulnerable without sunblock or sunscreen. We’re all exposed to these rays every day, each time we go outdoors and the repeated exposure builds over time,” noted Dr. Richard Eisen, M.D. Dermatologist at South Shore Skin Center and Spa.
Protecting Against Skin Cancer
South Shore Skin Center’s physicians remind adults and children to follow these important measures in the prevention of skin cancer:
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun.
Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds.
Use ample amounts of sunscreen or sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even if it is cloudy.
Wear protective clothing and large framed or wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eye area.
Have your skin checked by a dermatologist regularly.
Note any moles or other spots on the skin that have changed. Have them checked by physician as soon as possible.
For concerns about the skin, contact South Shore Skin Center’s Cohasset (781) 383-3340 or Plymouth dermatology office (508) 747-0711.
About South Shore Skin Center and Spa
Caring for thousands of patients on the South Shore and Cape Cod, South Shore Skin Center and Spa is one of Massachusetts’ most progressive dermatology practices offering a wide range of medical, surgical and cosmetic services. South Shore Skin Center and Spa’s medical office and the cosmetic dermatology Spa occupy the 6,600 square-foot third floor of One Scobee Circle in Plymouth. South Shore Skin Center and Spa’s skin cancer unit, the Mohs Surgical Center, is located on the lower level.
South Shore Skin Center and Spa is located at One Scobee Circle, Unit 3, in Plymouth, Mass. (508) 747-0711 and at 223 Chief Justice Cushing Highway, Suite 202, in Cohasset, Mass. (781) 383-3340. For more information, visit the website at www.southshoreskincenter.com.