Since its first successful phase of clinical trials a little over a year ago, the chemotherapy drug PLX4032 has continued to show promising results in the treatment of melanoma: the deadliest form of skin cancer. This is good news not only to melanoma sufferers, but especially heartening to patients whose cancers have spread past the skin-treatment stage.
According to recent reports published in the August 26th addition of The New England Journal of Medicine, treatment with PLX4032 resulted in tumor shrinkage in 81% of the patients within the trial. These patients were selected for the trial medication because their lab work exhibited the same genetic predisposition for the disease (the BRAF mutation.)
While there are several different types of skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, melanomas can kill within 3 months as they have the ability to spread quickly and metastasize to internal organ systems. This reiterates the importance of having any suspicious new spots examined by a dermatologist. Skin cancers are most accurately diagnosed through skin biopsies in which a board certified dermatologist will excise a small tissue sample and review the questionable cells microscopically.
Dermatology Associates of Atlanta stresses the importance of patients (and their children) to undergo annual “skin cancer body checks” to ensure there are no suspect spots. In the event other measures need to be taken, DAA’s Surgical Suite is fully equipped to provide MOHS (skin cancer removal) surgery. Skin cancer is, to a large degree, preventable by avoiding excess sun exposure and protecting your skin with an SPF 30 sunscreen (or higher.)