Florida has the second highest number of cases of melanoma in the United States, with more than 600 Floridians dying from melanoma each year.
It's the most dangerous type of skin cancer and the leading cause of death from skin disease. The cancer institute at Baptist Hospital is helping a local man fight melanoma with a new clinical trial.
Scott Nelson was on a family vacation in summer 2012 when his wife noticed an irregularly shaped mole on his left shoulder while applying sunscreen. A dermatologist did a biopsy and discovered it was melanoma; about nine months later doctors found the cancer had spread to nodules in his lungs.
"Scott comes from a generation spending a lot of time out in the sun and that is at least, we think, the major cause for the rise in melanoma," said Troy Guthrie Jr., MD, Baptist Cancer Institute.
Since starting a clinic trial at Baptist Health in August, CT scans are showing Nelson's cancer is in remission. The trial involves two drugs that are administered through an IV infusion every other week and help the body fight off cancer.
"The biggest side effect that Scott had was originally a fever but now his hair is actually losing its pigment", said Guthrie.
This trial is no longer accepting patients, but there are two other trials for melanoma that are open.
One of the trials that is open is for patients who have had melanoma removed but are at high risk of the disease coming back.