Novel approach to treating cancer
NEW YORK — The discovery that two new drugs can control melanoma could revolutionize the treatment not only of melanoma but also of other cancers as well.
Melanoma is cancer of the pigment cells in the skin. Although it accounts for only 4 percent of all skin cancers, it is responsible for almost 80 percent of the deaths, particularly because it tends to spread early in its course.
Melanoma kills by spreading through blood and lymph nodes into the internal organs of the body. This is what makes it more dangerous than other skin cancers, which don't metastasize as easily.
A melanoma the size of a dime on the skin has a 50 percent chance of having already spread. In addition, melanoma is spreading faster than any other kind of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that at least one person in the country dies of skin cancer every hour.