Mucosal melanoma survivor: After trying immunotherapy, I found success with my Plan B

When I was diagnosed with stage IV mucosal melanoma of the nasal cavity in October 2017, I got to MD Anderson as quickly as I could. My cancer was advanced and very rare, with mucosal melanoma making up only about 1% of all melanoma diagnoses a year. And I wanted to be treated at a place where they’d seen a lot of cases like mine before. At MD Anderson, I met with medical oncologist Dr. Hussein Tawbi, radiation oncologist Dr. B. Ashleigh Guadagnolo, and head and neck surgeon and skull base specialist Dr. Shirley Su. I was excited when they recommended immunotherapy. I thought it would give me the best results. Unfortunately, I developed side effects to immunotherapy pretty early on, so I had to stop taking it. But my doctors came up with an alternate treatment plan, and I’ve been cancer-free since March 2019. So even though immunotherapy didn’t work for me, MD Anderson did. My mucosal melanoma symptoms and diagnosis The only mucosal melanoma symptoms I had were a watery left eye and some nasal congestion. I thought they were from a sinus infection, so I went to a local ear, nose and throat doctor. He found a large growth on the left side of my sinuses and referred me to a head and neck surgeon. A few days later, I had a biopsy, which showed the growth was cancer. An MRI and a PET scan revealed the tumor was about the size of a golf ball and located behind my left eye. It was already invading the surrounding tissues, including my left tear duct. That made...