Penile melanoma --Melanoma is NOT just skin cancer!
April, 2020 my “Significant Other” (Jerry– Age 82) discovered a small black spot on his penis. It was biopsied and confirmed to be melanoma. He had a partial penectomy. March, 2021 he had another partial penectomy with lymph nodes biopsied. Melanoma was in one node which was removed and he was classed at stage 4.
Each PET scan showed numerous small nodules in his lungs that were too small to identify, but with each PET scan, they were a little larger. In April, 2021, he was considered NED (No evidence of disease). We were seeing a well known melanoma specialist in Dallas. The side effects of immunotherapy were discussed, and Jerry decided to decline treatment. The doctor agreed with his decision, based on his age and the side effects of treatment. . He asked about the recurrence and was told—it WILL come back, it is just a matter of when and where.
He was very sick and I took him to the ER on July 12, 2021, and had to cancel the routine PET and brain MRI scheduled for July 14. During the ER and hospital admission, a lung CT was done. The doc told me at that time that his lungs were full of cancer—he considered him terminal and said I would be looking at hospice very soon. Jerry hated the trips to Dallas, so I finally gave in and agreed to request an appointment with the local oncology group.
The doctor was pleasant and friendly, but I am not sure how much he knows about melanoma! He admitted that he had not read all the reports and that this was a difficult and unusual case. PET and brain MRI were scheduled. Results showed widespread mets—Lungs, thorax, mammary glands, possible colon, and started to spread to the bones. The nodules in his lungs had grown from 1.7 cm to 8 & 10 cm in 4 weeks time! The doc recommended Keytruda. He made immunotherapy seem like a walk in the park. Jerry had the port placed yesterday and will have his first treatment on Tuesday Aug. 31. He will have treatments every 3 weeks times 6—then go for another PET.
Strangely enough, Jerry still feels good. He does get tired easily and takes naps—not unusual at age 82. His appetite comes and goes, but he is maintaining his weight.
I think that if he experiences much in the way of side effects, that he will stop—he says he will not give up, but on the other hand, he will prefer quality of life over quantity.
My question is—-what are the odds that this treatment will stop the spread???