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sgoddard 07-31-2005 12:45 PM

Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
:confused:

My sister-in-law was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma over a year ago. She had her eye removed and was told the cancer had not spread. She now has been told that the melanoma has metasticized in her liver. She has been told that she has three large tumors in her liver and cannot be operated upon.

The doctor's don't tell us much. They have said she has anywhere from 0-9 months to live. The doctor's want her to undergo chemo, but she doesn't want to go under chemo as they have told her that they are not sure if it will extend her life. However, the doctor's won't tell her what will happen if she doesn't undergo treatment. What will happen to her.........will her body just shut down? Will she be in significant pain?

shnswms 08-01-2005 08:48 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
I've read in later stages of the disease, surgery is generally followed with additional therapy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy are the most frequent kinds of "adjuvant" (additional) therapies in widespread use for melanoma. You could try to get her into a clinical trial. Immunotherapy, gene therapy, and melanoma vaccines are all being used in clinical trials for wide spread melanoma. Melanoma is pretty resistant to most chemotherapies. Interferon has had success against it but its something like it works in 30 percent of cases. It is very difficult to answer what any cancer death will be like. Alot of them are different. Sometimes the body just shuts down, some people are in significant pain at time of death, and complications from the cancer such as heart attack etc. If it comes to foregoing further treatment I would recommend calling in Hospice. It makes no sense to me why doctors would let anyone be in pain who is terminal. There are so many advances in the pain management field like destruction of nerves, aggressive pain medication, etc. Good luck to you.

Has Questions 08-01-2005 09:41 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
[QUOTE=sgoddard]:confused:

My sister-in-law was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma over a year ago. She had her eye removed and was told the cancer had not spread. She now has been told that the melanoma has metasticized in her liver. She has been told that she has three large tumors in her liver and cannot be operated upon.

The doctor's don't tell us much. They have said she has anywhere from 0-9 months to live. The doctor's want her to undergo chemo, but she doesn't want to go under chemo as they have told her that they are not sure if it will extend her life. However, the doctor's won't tell her what will happen if she doesn't undergo treatment. What will happen to her.........will her body just shut down? Will she be in significant pain?[/QUOTE]

Well, first of all, the doctor shouldn't be denying the patient any information.

It's not a common thing for ocular melanoma to metastasize to the liver (hepatoma), it normally comes from the breast, stomach, colon, or rectum. I'm guessing that the cancer must have metastasized further than the liver, otherwise they would be able to operate on the liver.
You can remove up to 3/4 of the liver, and it grows back very quickly- it's not normally possible to do this when the cancer has spread past the liver though.

I don't know exactly how she will die or how much pain she will be in, but some symptoms of late-stage hepatoma are jaundice, ascites, esophageal varices, encephalopathy, and things like that.

I'm in medical school right now, so tomorrow in class I will ask my instructor for you. For right now that is all I can tell you. I'm sorry to hear about your situation- keep us updated. -Jen

Has Questions 08-02-2005 10:13 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
[QUOTE=Has Questions]Well, first of all, the doctor shouldn't be denying the patient any information.

It's not a common thing for ocular melanoma to metastasize to the liver (hepatoma), it normally comes from the breast, stomach, colon, or rectum. I'm guessing that the cancer must have metastasized further than the liver, otherwise they would be able to operate on the liver.
You can remove up to 3/4 of the liver, and it grows back very quickly- it's not normally possible to do this when the cancer has spread past the liver though.

I don't know exactly how she will die or how much pain she will be in, but some symptoms of late-stage hepatoma are jaundice, ascites, esophageal varices, encephalopathy, and things like that.

I'm in medical school right now, so tomorrow in class I will ask my instructor for you. For right now that is all I can tell you. I'm sorry to hear about your situation- keep us updated. -Jen[/QUOTE]

I couldn't make it to class today, so I didn't have a change to ask her. I'll get back to you though. -Jen

sgoddard 08-07-2005 01:40 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
[QUOTE=shnswms]I've read in later stages of the disease, surgery is generally followed with additional therapy. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapy are the most frequent kinds of "adjuvant" (additional) therapies in widespread use for melanoma. You could try to get her into a clinical trial. Immunotherapy, gene therapy, and melanoma vaccines are all being used in clinical trials for wide spread melanoma. Melanoma is pretty resistant to most chemotherapies. Interferon has had success against it but its something like it works in 30 percent of cases. It is very difficult to answer what any cancer death will be like. Alot of them are different. Sometimes the body just shuts down, some people are in significant pain at time of death, and complications from the cancer such as heart attack etc. If it comes to foregoing further treatment I would recommend calling in Hospice. It makes no sense to me why doctors would let anyone be in pain who is terminal. There are so many advances in the pain management field like destruction of nerves, aggressive pain medication, etc. Good luck to you.[/QUOTE]

sgoddard 08-07-2005 01:42 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
Thank you for the advice. We will give Hospice a call as they might be able to assist us especially in later stages. Her doctor did give her codine to assist with any pain that she may suffer. So far, she hasn't felt the need to take it as Motrin seems to be working. However, I am sure it will get worse as time goes on. Thanks again!

sgoddard 08-07-2005 01:45 PM

Re: Metasticized Ocular Melanoma
 
Thanks for your help. I have found two clinical trials....both here on the East Coast specifically for her type of cancer. One is at NIH and the other is in Phila******a. She is currently looking to see whether or not she is eligible for either trial.


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