Peter Lynn on melanoma and emerging treatments for advanced melanoma

Melanoma Patients Australia (MPA) member Peter Lynn has been raising awareness of melanoma and emerging treatments for advanced melanoma since he contracted the disease. ‘I’ve dodged a bullet’ says Peter after he has been put on a trial of a new melanoma drug Tafinlar, and 4 years later, he is still alive and playing golf.

After 5 weeks of his son dying from metastatic melanoma, Peter discovered his own cancer had returned again.

“I would have died three years past” he said.

Tafinlar is one of 20 new medicines that is subsidised by the Australian medicine scheme from last month.

Mr Lyn has welcomed the subsidy for his melanoma treatment, which in fact has shrunk his tumours by 64 per cent within only a month of beginning the therapy.

When his cancer returned in 2009, it was the second outbreak since his original diagnosis. Peter’s doctor ordered a genetic test to see if he had BRAF positive genes to qualify for a trial of a new drug. One in two caucasian melanoma sufferers are BRAF positive.

Some side effects from this therapy include extra skin growth on the balls of his feet, which in turn makes it difficult to walk, developed curly hair and increased tiredness, Mr Lyn said the drug is a “miracle”.

Peter was informed by the Familial Cancer Unit at Westmead that his grandchildren, aged 16 and 18, have a 70 – 75 per cent chance of developing melanoma because their skin type are the same as their father’s and grandfather’s.

“I am ensuring that somebody helps my grandchildren if the need arises,” Mr Lyn said.

It is a saddening fact that Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Of these skin cancers, Melanoma is responsible for more deaths than any other, despite being the least common type.

For more information please visit the MPA website