‘Finally showing hope’ – Immunotherapy trial results transforming care for rare skin cancer

April 19, 2016


Fred Hutch News Service

Publication Date

April 19, 2016


Susan Keown


First, the cancer was on the bridge of his nose. Surgery took care of that. Then, there was a tumor under his jaw: more surgery, plus eight weeks of radiation. A few months later, a routine scan caught another in his brain. More surgery and radiation. Several months more, and two tumors popped up under the skin of his chest.

He had had enough. Stan Collender had refused to acknowledge that the grim statistics of his rare skin cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, were relevant to him; but now his usually boundless optimism was starting to falter.

“There’s gotta be some systemic way to treat this. Because all we’re doing is playing Whack-A-Mole: We’re waiting for things to pop up and then we’re going after them. This is not acceptable,” the PR exec and Beltway pundit remembers telling his Washington, D.C., doctor.

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