News & Information | START In The News

May 17th, 2011
By: Jennifer Dodd, KSAT 12 News Reporter

New Melanoma Drug Showing Positive Results Pill Has Few Side Effects, Significant Results

SAN ANTONIO -- At the age of 81, James Cook decided it was time to get a spot behind his ear looked at. "I had a little knot come out on my ear," Cook said.

Watch Jennifer Dodd's Report

It had been there for some time, Cook said, and he had no reason to believe there was anything wrong, but he decided to have it checked out anyway.

"I just felt it might have been getting bigger," Cook said.

A good thing he did. A test showed Cook had melanoma and a subsequent CAT scan showed it had spread.

"He had involvement of the lymph nodes of the neck and also his lungs," said Dr. Amita Patnaik, an medical Oncologist.

Cook joined a study at the Start Center for Cancer Care involving a new drug. A pill that targets cancer cells and lessens the harsh side effects of traditional cancer drugs.

Cook has been on it for two months and said other than a bit of nausea, he feels fine.

Patnaik, who's heading up the study, said recent tests show improvement in Cook's tumors.

"His last scan showed that his tumors had shrunk by about 17 percent," Patnaik said.

Cook said after going through the tests, he has a bit of advice for others: Wear sunscreen and get screened early and often.

"Check all your little knots out. See what's going on," Cook said.

KSAT-12 has teamed up with the START Center For Cancer Care this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for a free skin cancer screening event.

The START Center for Cancer Care is located at 4383 Medical Drive.

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