Preventing Melanoma: Good for Skin Lines and the Bottom Line?

6a00e55255b4628834017d432073dc970c-200wiPrevention of sunburn may make be wise for your nest egg, not just for your skin. Melanoma, one of the fastest increasing forms of potentially deadly cancer, is related to sun damage to the skin. Once it goes beyond the local stage and spreads, the chances of survival are in the order of 15%.

The good news is that various genetic subtypes of melanoma are being identified, and targeted by specific drugs. More good news is that a new “biologic” drug has been developed by Genetech named Zelboraf which blocks a specific mutated protein found in certain melanoma known as BRAF 600 V. This protein can be identified by a mutation test to see if Zelboraf will be effective in their melanoma.

The bad news is that this drug is slated to cost $9800/month. Another related drug for late-stage melanoma recently approve named Yervoy costs $120,000/treatment course. If you think it will be easy to get your insurance to cover such treatment, just try to get them to pay for an out of network visit or lab test.
Especially for those with pale skin, lots of moles, and/or a family history of melanoma, this cost really questions the wisdom of overworking oneself to save money to reward oneself with sunburn vacations and weekends getting in the sun. Your wisest path, and most affordable path, is one of reasonable sun protection with hats and clothing as preventative investment. And don’t forget to get any suspicious lesions checked.To your health,

Dr. Alan M. Dattner
Holistic Dermatology
New York, New York


As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.

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