May is Melanoma Awareness Month. Melanoma is one of the most serious types of skin cancer.
With summer approaching, the threat of melanoma is rapidly increasing. The only way to prevent melanoma is to stay protected from the sun. Completely avoiding the sun is practically impossible and not healthy- but UPF 50+ clothing is the perfect solution to help lower the risk of developing melanoma.
Below, you will read Jamie's inspiring battle with stage II melanoma.
Jamie Goldfarb was diagnosed with stage II melanoma in January 2008. She had a birthmark on her left thigh that changed over time. After giving birth to her son, Kai, in October 2010, scans showed that the cancer had spread to her liver and pancreas. Her oncologist told her he would do everything in his power to buy her 6 more months with her new baby.
Although there were only two approved treatments for melanoma at the time, the research landscape was moving quickly and there were several new, very promising treatments in clinical trials (the majority of which are now approved treatments). Jamie immediately researched clinical trials and joined a trial for adoptive cell therapy with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (also known simply as TIL) at the National Cancer Institute.
The way TIL works is really awesome, in all senses of the word. First, they harvest tumor and extract all of the white blood cells within that tumor, because those cells are able to identify and start attacking the tumor. After the new cells were grown, Jamie entered the hospital for a month-long stay.
The first step in the treatment was to kill her current immune system with high-dose chemotherapy, and then when she was completely neutropenic, they administered the new cells.
Scans over the next few months showed that the tumors were growing, and that Jamie needed to start thinking about new treatment options. However, after 4 months, the tumors started shrinking. Over the course of the next 2 years, all of Jamie’s tumors shrank until they disappeared.
She can now say she has had no evidence of disease for the past 8 years. While Jamie is very fortunate to have survived, metastatic melanoma carries only a 20% 5-year survival rate. The best way to survive melanoma is by preventing it. Protecting yourself from the sun is the very best thing you can do to prevent melanoma. By staying in the shade when possible and wearing sun-protective clothing, you are helping to ensure that you remain healthy, happy, and, most importantly, here with your loved ones.
To learn more about how you can prevent melanoma check out this guide: Melanoma Prevention.