Nose Cancer Case Study (Malignant Melanoma)
Alivia Helps Patient Avoid Invasive Operation
Nose Cancer (Malignant Melanoma) Case Study – Background
It was February 2016 that Rita first presented with an issue with regular nose bleeds and thought it best to get checked out.
It was not clear in the first instance what the exact diagnosis was. It can be difficult to diagnose these types of cancer because the tumours can be so small. But, after several fairly invasive tests, it was discovered that unfortunately Rita had a growth determined to be skin cancer in the nose, this had spread to the socket behind the right eye. The official diagnosis: Malignant melanoma of the sinonasal region.
Her doctors in Birmingham referred her to a radiologist for treatment, which Rita declined. Sadly, a further MRI in June 2016 suggested further disease progression. Upon finding this further growth, Rita’s doctors were suggesting an extremely invasive, radical surgery which included removal of the right eye. This is what lead Rita to Alivia for a second opinion.
Malignant melanoma of the nose and sinuses is a rare and unpredictable disease. It behaves in an unpredictable fashion and has a low overall survival of around 28% at 5 years. With it being a rare disease, specialist help can make all the difference.
How Did Alivia Help?
Rita and her husband were naturally very concerned about having such a complex operation which has lifechanging after-effects. They came to Alivia looking for some sort of answer, to find out if this was the only route or if there was another way.
Alivia’s internal research team; The Medical Intelligence Unit, got to work immediately to find a world leading doctor who was highly experienced within the head and neck cancer space to give advice about whether this procedure would offer benefit and if there was an alternative.
After spending hours scouring through medical journals, speaking to other top doctors in countries all over the world, the MIU identified a highly specialised Professor who was one of the foremost international expert physicians associated with global medical research on Rita’s condition.
The Second Opinion
Arguably, this is one of the most important second opinions we have ever completed.
The Professor cited her current and past research and published results and referred directly to the patient with the perfect mix of medical integrity and plain English in order to explain clearly her suggestions.
According to her research over almost 30 years, the proposed surgery which included removal of the eye would have absolutely no benefit to the overall patient survival. It was unnecessary. The professor’s results even suggested reduced life expectancy as a result of the suggested surgery.
The professor also indicated that radiology had limited benefit, but could be considered to reduce bleeding of the nose. However, the side effects may negate the benefit as it is not curative. She also informed the client that there was absolutely no evidence that proton beam offers any advantage.
Sometimes the most important thing to do for patients is to make sure their quality of life is not unnecessarily harmed (i.e., without any material medical benefit). Or perhaps to double and triple check that the route they are being taken down is the best route according to the latest international research. In Rita’s case, Alivia’s input in finding a preeminent doctor saved her from something that would have been invasive to say the least and life shortening at worst.
Sadly, we cannot always find new treatments or doctors to recommend options for patients which save their lives and we are forced to settle for helping patients be more confident in their care knowing everything possible has been done. Unfortunately, after fighting a tough battle, Rita has since passed away.
“Your support and advice during Rita’s illness was so helpful. All of your team at Alivia Swiss Health were brilliant. There are many ifs and buts about how we deal with fighting cancer, but I really believe if we had found you earlier in Rita’s illness we may have had a better outcome.”
Anton Taylor (Rita’s Husband)