In June 2013, Gordon Cornwall’s melanoma went metastatic and spread to his brain. He and his wife, Claudia, thought it was “game-over.” But his oncologist encouraged them to look for a clinical trial that might work for his form of melanoma. After embarking on a continent-wide search, they found a study in Texas with spots for just two more patients. They scrambled to get Gordon enrolled, and in August 2013, three days after he had his first infusion, he was astonished to see a lump on his shoulder softening and shrinking. Three months later, in November, a CT-scan revealed that all his tumors had disappeared.
This story of one couple’s battle to beat melanoma illustrates how a new treatment, immunotherapy, can defeat even aggressive forms of the disease. It also shows how patients can access the most advanced therapies by enrolling in clinical trials. Claudia describes Gordon’s case and learns from conversations with eminent researchers. She paints a portrait of an illness that is difficult but not impossible to combat. With vivid firsthand accounts from their diaries, as well as Claudia’s intimate narrative of the ups and downs of cancer treatment, this book will be a ready resource for melanoma patients and their families. It demonstrates how they can fight the disease medically as well as support each other emotionally and physically.