The media often has an exciting story headline that there is a new “cure” for melanoma. But before you get your hopes up, read further into these articles. Often it is old news, something we already knew about that may or may not be promising. To navigate melanoma you need access to knowledge of what’s working best with scientifically validated and compared therapies. Please scrutinize studies carefully and question medical providers closely about the therapies and discuss the sequence of treatments. Here’s what needs to be asked when evaluating a new therapy’s study results:
1. Who paid for this study that showed promising results? Sponsorship can sometimes skew the results.
2. How many patients were in the study? (The larger the number, the greater the validation)
3. Did the investigators have ties to the pharmaceutical company, and paid relationships? (Often these are listed at the tail end of the study)
4. How was the study conducted? Was the comparator to the new therapy a decent one that we know elicits a good response to melanoma? (There is less credence to studies comparing placebos and other therapies known to have little response.)
5. What is the toxicity profile? Will you be trading quality of life for a bit more quantity? Please weigh the benefits carefully.
We are part of an exciting revolution in melanoma therapy but also a time where there is much unknown. Therapies are being mixed for optimal results with limited knowledge of the potential outcomes. It is the mission of MIF to help you find the best therapy to live the longest, highest quality life.