Immunotherapy is Changing the Lives of Melanoma Patients

Kent Shih M.D.

For the last 15 years, I have watched melanoma care and research change dramatically, and immunotherapy has been central to that change. Immunotherapy amplifies the immune system, finding melanoma that hides then stops and kills it.

When immunotherapy was introduced over 20 years ago, it did little to help stage 4 melanoma patients. Today, immunotherapy is curing many of these patients. In fact, the success rate is 40-50 percent with certain therapies. While side effects may be different from chemotherapy, they are most often very manageable and overall remains safe for patients.

The future story of melanoma therapy is yet to be told, but surely it will be a thrilling drama, unfolding with heroes and winners in the end. I predict the eradication of not only melanoma but other cancers, too, within our lifetime, and we will see many brave cancer survivors living normal and healthy lives.

At Tennessee Oncology, I am proud to be on the high-risk skin team. We are a multidisciplinary group of experts focused on melanoma care and research. We help ensure Tennessee Oncology melanoma patients have access to the latest treatments and technologies.