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New advanced skin cancer treatment

6th June 2011

A new way of treating malignant melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, has been found to increase survival rates in trials.

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Around 2,000 deaths every year are caused by the cancer and the new treatment has been hailed as a breakthrough in treating the disease.

One woman who was given the drug during a trial - it is administered by intravenous injection for three months - is still alive after five years.

Another treatment which involves taking a pill twice a day has also been found to shrink tumours.

Both of the treatments are undergoing assessment by European licensing organisations after trials.

The treatment could be available to patients within months, although it is unclear whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will agree to fund it.

Dr James Larkin, Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital, said: "For patients this is really tremendous news because we’ve actually got two dramatic breakthroughs which have happened at pretty much the same time."

"Without question both of these drugs will be very important for patients with advanced melanoma."

 

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