Health Beat: Ocular melanoma: Saving lives, saving eyes
Updated On: Mar 24 2014 04:37:36 PM CDT
Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States.
Although rare, it can be a deadly if it isn’t spotted early enough. Now, there’s a way to treat patients that’s saving lives and saving eyes.
"I make sweaters, vests, a lot of mittens and hats," said Sally Martin, who knits every day.
But when she started losing vision in her right eye, Martin's hobby became more difficult.
"I thought it was related to being over 50 and you lose some close-up vision," said Martin, who found out it was something much more serious – uveal melanoma.
Patients with eye melanomas that have spread have only a 15 percent survival rate.
Martin’s doctor caught hers before it spread, so she was a candidate for a type of radiation known as brachytherapy. A gold disc was stitched directly on Martin’s eye.
"They are seeds within a disc like a radioactive button," Singh said.
Martin wore the disc for three days in the hospital. During that time, the radioactive seeds targeted the cancer. She still has a blind spot in her right eye, but she's happy to be cancer-free.
"I feel very fortunate that it was caught early, and that my prognosis is very good," explained Martin, who can now focus on making more of her favorite things.
The method has a 95 percent success rate for patients whose tumors haven't spread. Some patients do not have any symptoms when they have melanoma of the eye. It depends on where the tumor is located. Those patients typically do not catch the cancer until it has already spread. It spreads to other organs in the body in about half of all cases.
Copyright 2014 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
2 women killed in Lehigh County wreck
Bucks County man killed in crash on I-78 East in Upper Saucon
Vacation turns to tragedy when 3-year-old girl is killed
Man says police have often mistaken him for Eric Frein
Inferno damage at least $12M; collapse potential examined
School bus crash sends 4 students to hospitals
School district cancels classes Tuesday after alleged Frein sighting
PA law signed to curb Abu-Jamal's `obscene celebrity'
State police: Possible Eric Frein sighting near post office
Real estate agent testifies about carjacking that killed mom, 3 kids