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Andrew (Andy) Messinger

Age 61
Short Hills, N.J.

Beating Advanced Melanoma since 2005

When I was diagnosed with melanoma eight years ago, I was shocked: I had never been a sun worshipper. In 2007, scans showed that the cancer had spread to my lungs, and in 2009, it spread to my brain. As a result of the brain lesion, I became eligible to participate in a clinical trial testing ipilimumab (Yervoy). I have been receiving ipilimumab through the clinical trial ever since and I am thankful every day that it has worked for so long.
It was 2005 when I first noticed a mark on my chest and went to see my dermatologist. He thought it was a blood blister so we were both very surprised when the biopsy revealed that it was melanoma.

My dermatologist referred me to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where I had the lesion surgically removed. I also had a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Unfortunately this showed the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and I had to have a second surgery to have lymph nodes removed. Although scans showed no sign of metastases in my body, the fact that the cancer was in my lymph nodes meant that my diagnosis was advanced disease.

See Andy's Story