WEEI>On Demand>>M&M: Laurie Wenham, with Dr. Stephen Hodi, Clinical Director of the Melanoma Center at Dana-Farber

M&M: Laurie Wenham, with Dr. Stephen Hodi, Clinical Director of the Melanoma Center at Dana-Farber

Aug 28, 2013|

Laurie started using tanning beds as a teen and quickly began tanning every week for several years. She was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2000 at the age of 26 and has had four recurrences since. She is currently in treatment on a clinical trial. Dr. Hodi joins to talk about treating melanomas and the importance of sun safety.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Our -- series studio on my right -- went on joining us here on my left doctor Stephen Cody wants a -- with their mom Carol. As well and I. I have a lot of addictions in my life and OK so I can speak addictions or you had an addiction. And I'm not definitely with Telus and how does -- audience are viewing nights what you were addicted to you. Is it as teenagers addicted to having at the end I wanted to be dark it could be and I want it to be different came back from vacation every spring and that the best thing. And what what kind of life that take on tanning beds one -- week for prom I actually decided to start going to tanning bed. And that from then on it was from sixteen to 26 years they did it went tanning beds to read about it and that we are all -- Now this while a few years ago I mean now you know we hear -- tanning beds and sun and how important it is. Any thought at all back then probably what you're doing the skin was there any talks of -- skin cancer is as big. Never heard anything about it is that. He's not you've just getting it -- you -- you wanted to get the -- before you went on vacation right Steven permanent vacation and you have the whole spectrum go. I -- I had no idea whatsoever and even when they diagnose you snipers on Obama. I was I didn't know the word I didn't know the word oncology I didn't understand it to a 2000 your first diagnosed with it. What was your reaction when you first heard. My reaction was complete denial. I did not believe. And at that and maybe -- adapters are just trying to make money off of me by having me if there's -- And then after the next I got I kept having more surgeries and they kept mining and a few more melanoma said and I realized that there is something to that and it is me. I doctor Stephen go to the political director of the melanoma center at the Dana Farber when you hear the story when Heidi first. Before you first saw her when you hear talk about the tanning bed part of it it -- something inside you. Just start to go crazy it's only seen melanoma see these cancers during your time as doctor yeah it's it's really something we talked about it. In the field a lot where young individuals think that having attendance this school. One of window when I have for prom lower or during the wintertime and -- vacation. And really that tanning beds it's like smoking cigarettes. And so there's a public awareness. Of what smoking does for cancers -- cancer and other cancers. But we're trying to make it a bigger impact and understanding also exposure in addition to tanning beds. That's equivalent to an increased risk cancers that it's really an example. Of how we need to continue to get that word out in in prevention being so that's. Deduct do you see you see in the orient you first diagnosed 2000. Again 010203. More -- occurrences and I think at that point you sort of realized that it was -- changed your life yet in 2012. Last year another recurrence. Is it. For her -- being mean staying out of the sun for ten years yet it was sort of sleeping in her. So it's not a usual usually recurrent it's -- -- -- in the first few years I mean diagnosis. But we do see patients who five and even fifty years later we'll have returned to them there they're melanoma. And you know there's there's a number of moments in terms of what the possibilities are unfortunate occurrences come back with notes and Ellsbury at any time. -- awareness I think is probably higher than it has been awhile I mean I remember. But let -- -- part of the physical process wasn't you know of this kind of testing in the in the last couple years playing yet. We studied in some skin test and -- that -- at animals in your body that was only the last couple of years that I was playing so. In the last 510 years these people being more aware of it which helps that I witnessing how we were more aware of smoking and records for cancer. We're finally I think having them a greater public awareness. It's going all parts of our society in terms of the role by radiation and any source. Wearing sunblock kind of way correct these -- morning when there in the highest. Wearing hats too much credit to my -- dead weakens doesn't work from ten to -- keep you waiting outside yeah. Except for the launch. But interest the greater way of trying to get through just activities because that the sun can be damaging meaningless. Now this happens you mentioned staying out of the sun -- you. Is it just complete your your covered up all the time avoided altogether what's out of that life change work. I do you Wear a lot of enclosed now that have been built in SPF in them that hundred and that the FX SPF. So I -- that all the time and you know go out on the water -- go out but I do everything I try and stay initiated -- -- -- -- have an -- our. You know just not I don't go to the beach -- with my friends that's for sure that is. That you are currently in a clinical trying infusions. One every 21 days -- I want to get that clinical trial but the amazing thing is you're working for researcher. At -- Mean we're working with the team is part of the researcher and that's up and always interest yours is something has driven him because what you gonna happen. I hate I literally I got hired. After -- seeing actor Hannity. I went in for a couple surgeries and I got hired after the surgery table by Carl Sean Parker. You I was in surgery for five and a half hours and he just he loved my attitude is that your EU and -- so long -- -- you're so happy great. I need someone like you here so. For awhile -- eat you know directed to you Barbara for six years that's how I ended up getting into that the other and of course it's fascinating to me out. I just I I did I am glad it ended up leaving. The medical -- for a little bit and then I actually missed I like to be able to help I do want to help people with what my knowledge. And do you have. That a field you're looking at even before any of this happened to Austin -- you know you find yourself at Brigham. Great work in the medical field. No I was actually living in California and that day I had my first biopsy my. Person wears melanoma I have an interview for club med. And I got -- up the next day that I got the job -- I was moving from California to Florida and six days. And then I got the crowd the next day from my dermatologist on his staff that he was like. Southern cal -- you love this I don't you like and you just move the wanted to go to -- Minnesota right. I added I had -- -- -- in the summer I loved the outdoors ever volleyball beach volleyball. That's amazing but now it -- it mention the clinical trial this he the one how. How does that work how the advancement -- the clinical trials and Vanilla -- that at -- Dealing -- so the the treatment from -- have really had an explosion of success the past few years. Both and our understanding of that genetics of what drives in the moment how to -- hit those genetic targets. And also how to boost one's immune system how we actually get the patience to fight the cancer. And some of the discoveries we've had in melanoma in terms of opinion therapy is is moving on other cancers also in and -- -- some some successes there. So what we're trying to do here is actually take the breaks off immune system and at the PD one is actually the the second generation. Of antibodies that you're targeting the breaks in the system. To release the brakes to allow the natural immune system that all patients with cancer are trying to me. And beached and actually attack the cancer in the -- -- is is there is -- example of that that's going through a number of but the trials. In melanoma and other campus of lung cancer kidney cancer. And we hope. If the early results continue on as as they have looked very successful. That that we would have this available to many patients in the future -- obviously everybody should go get checked out. But what should also be looking for but if you start looking at some of the moles on your body different things. What are some things assigns it to that you need to go see doctor right now. So we've really recommend that every one as when we do you know to do breast exams and and in such that we should also -- skin exams and on out and think about I -- recommend to patients. Oral busy when you think well the first of the month you think about -- it's June 1 since October 1 -- -- optical equipment and looking in the back. You look for anything that are changing any change in size shape color. Anything that looks different or new should probably be brought attention of your position to take a look at it and and and really anything that's -- street. Many -- moments -- actually noticed by not the patient but I loved ones the cities of America different I noticed that changing surely get that checked out. But I think it's part of the education. In addition to protect ourselves from the sun not going to tanning -- giving him -- vote of model and not from UV radiation. Is really to also be aware of our skin in the changes that occurred and bring it to the attention of a health providers when it's when we probably -- early detection. Early detection is still the best treatment the best prevention the best way to prevent home and home early detection and intervention. And some protection being the biggest. People talk of vitamin. -- I'm curious because I think your story about your going to prom and giving him something a lot of the girls at ice with college with its formal come up there hitting that 23 times that we. Think it can't you've gone through now. 45 different bouts of melanoma so when you see young girls and they're talking about like got to go to with anybody get it can view. Immediately now trying to act as they see a role model to explained that this is not the way need to go about this. I know I mean all my friends that I have now they'd they'd count and if they do they got they lied to me after -- But I I don't have many teenage friends but at I I do I have a lot of friends with kids that are like 910 years old now and definitely try and tell them and they listen they they -- little sponges when there like 910 years followed it with everything I say sometimes too much. Listen everything and -- we'll keep our they'll come back like it -- later and ask you about it it's good. Yes so it's it's definitely -- I definitely. I think it's good to start with the younger ones. And side effects from the infusions or 21 days and effects from I. Little bit about rash for a little bit and that's gone now -- When -- went away with vacations very deeply with vacation is but it had meant that I. When I found out my latest diagnosis last October I changed I decided to change everything again and go back to -- organic and mostly -- -- vegetables. With the help of my brother and my BMI have without every -- now. Because I wanted to be as healthy as I possibly could for whatever I was going to and that. How important is that god the only -- semi live in that good life why -- fighting something like this yet having a well balanced throughout our lives as important. Nutrition exercise healthy lifestyles moderation things all of that really helps in terms of prevention and and going through an active treatment like with Houston. Lord thank you so much for coming in -- thanks mom for covenant through Zomorodi thank you don't like thinking golly we're coming and you hear -- a story we ask you to. -- pick up the phone to help us out help us reach our goal of sixty new monthly donors by the end of the show today call 877. 731234. Go online Jimmy Fund dot org to -- Jimmy's team now. Help us strike out cancer you're watching listening to the WEEI -- Jimmy Fund radio telethon. We're live here Fenway Park.

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