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Malignant Melanoma

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Question: What is the best treatment for vaginal malignant melanoma stage 2c ? i have a vaginal malignant melanoma. the tumor is 2.5 cm. with ulceration. I made a surgery where ovaries, uterus, the posterior wall of the vagian and the rectum where removed. my doctor said i am of high risk of recurrence. he told me there is no treatment available now except interferon and he is not really sure about its proficiency. the recommended dose he suggested is 3 million to be injected under the skin three times a week. Please help me if there are other treatments and ,if not, is the 3 million interferon dose effective or not. i did the surgery two months ago. no lymph nodes were affected. waiting for your replies. thanks everyone.

Answer: I'd go for the interferon therapy for at least a year or longer. I'd want to get started asap. Interferon is a very strong drug and can make you depressed but it has incredible anti-tumor potential plus it is your best option for avoiding another melanoma. 3million units is a rather low dose for melanoma. I'd ask about doing 5 or 10 million units 3X week. Cost will be the same for the higher dosage. I hope you have good drug insurance as interferon is very expensive. If you do not, I'd look into the Patient Assistance programs and maybe you can receive the meds for no cost if you have a very limited income. Your Dr should have already gone through all this with you. Be aggressive with taking care of yourself and in seeking out additional treatment. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease - or in this case the interferon. The advice about starting an antidepressant at the same time as the interferon is good. Also know that interferon side effects can be minimized by taking ibuprofen or Tylenol a couple hours after each interferon injection. Expect to be tired and need to sleep a lot. Give yourself permission to rest and take things easy. In some people the side effects decrease as time goes by. Since you had no nodal involvement you have a chance to be healed and even if the interferon treatment is very difficult, being healed has a great upside compared to doing nothing to prevent a second melanoma or recurrence. good luck

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