When Army veteran Garry Eisch was diagnosed with melanoma for the second time in 2018, he did not know what to expect for his course of treatment.
During his first bout of melanoma in 2016, he had to have his lymph nodes removed to ensure his cancer would not spread. This painful procedure can also cause lymphedema, which is where fluid builds up and causes swelling.
Dr. Rohit Sharma, Eisch’s surgical oncologist at Marshfield Clinic Health System, had a new option – a revolutionary treatment for unresectable melanoma skin cancer called T-VEC that did not involve surgery. It is the first and only FDA-approved cancer treatment of its kind.
“Dr. Sharma knows everything about my cancer and always does a really good job at explaining everything in detail. This made me feel better about getting this new type of treatment,” Eisch said.
How T-VEC works
T-VEC uses a virus to kill only the cancer cells, keeping normal cells safe. Dr. Sharma injected the treatment into Eisch’s cancerous areas every two weeks. Eventually, the melanoma started to respond and go away.
“I started with 14 lesions on my leg and each time they were less and less,” said Eisch. “The best part – I was able to go home right away after each treatment.”
Eisch and his wife Lorie now come in every three months for check-ups to make sure there are no new lesions. If there is any testing that needs to be done during the check-up, Eisch’s care team makes sure everything is done that day.
This is especially important because they live nearly 185 miles away from Marshfield in Florence, Wisconsin. It is there that Eisch is now able to enjoy the outdoors.