Sylvester Offers Patients with Advanced Skin Cancers Breakthrough Treatments

Melanoma Patients Living Longer Thanks to Cutting-Edge Clinical Trials

Dr. Jose Lutzky, a medical oncologist specialized in advanced skin cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains what melanoma is, who is at risk, and how clinical trials offered at Sylvester are helping patients live longer, healthier lives. Dave Hirschman is one of those patients.

Dr. Jose Lutzky is a medical oncologist specialized in advanced skin cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information about treatments and services for skin cancers, click here or visit the UHealth blog.

MEET DAVE HIRSCHMAN:

An active 44-year-old, David Hirschman got the shock of a lifetime after feeling nauseous for months.

“They said, you have what they called Stage 4 cancer,” says Dave.

David was sent to Jose Lutzky, M.D., a medical oncologist specialized in advanced skin cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who diagnosed David with metastatic melanoma.

“Doctor, what is melanoma and can anyone get it”? asked anchor Pam Giganti.

“Melanoma is a cancer that starts in the cells of the skin that produce the pigment that give the color to the skin,” Dr. Lutzky says. “Anyone can get melanoma, whether you’re very fair or not so fair.”

Dr. Lutzky says sun exposure is the main cause and to check for any moles that are new or changing.

“If they’re getting larger, thicker, if they’re itchy, if they’re bleeding, if they’re weeping secretions,” says Dr. Lutzky.

But in some cases, like David’s, melanoma can develop where you’d least expect it.

“It was related to a mass in his bowel,” Dr. Lutzky says. “They are what we call mucosal melanomas. Melanomas that start in areas where the sun never shines.”

Sylvester, an NCI-designated cancer center, has access to hundreds of clinical trials. David was enrolled in a study using two immunotherapy drugs and his tumors began to disappear!

“All but two had basically become non-detectable,” David says.

David credits Dr. Lutzky and his team for getting him back to the life he enjoys.

“When you get that level of attention and care. Makes the world of difference,” says David.

FOCUSING ON YOU

Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine is a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10. For more stories like this one, visit YouTube channels for UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.

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