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Mark’s personal story

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In September 2007, I noticed a lump in my neck. I felt fine, but went to my GP right away. She took no chances and had a CT scan done within five days, she called me and said you need a neck biopsy ASAP. Again I was feeling fine, but the stress started.

They did a neck biopsy on September 25th and five days later I was told I had malignant metastatic melanoma! Then he also added that no one lives more than 6-12 months. It is terminal...So I went to an oncologist who set me up for a PET scan. On my 50th birthday he called me with the devastating news. I actually "had" 14 tumors! Nine on my lungs, a very large one on my esophagus, and four more in my chest cavity. Advanced stage IV.

Luckily, he referred me to a wonderful melanoma specialist 15 minutes from my house! Dr. Brendan Curti came in on his day off for our first consult. He was honest but upbeat. There were options! I chose the most aggressive, at the time HD IL-2. I did 6 weeks and 47 doses, was clear for 6 months had a minor re-occurrence. Had 50 lymph nodes removed and 25 rounds radiation and have been 5 years NED.

I never used a tanning bed. But I never used sunscreen and thought my Italian skin was not susceptible to cancer. Wrong! Protect your skin always.