New Hope for Melanoma Patients

Actor James Rebhorn died this past weekend of skin cancer, now new drugs may offer hope to some.
3:00 | 03/24/14

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Transcript for New Hope for Melanoma Patients
about what the Russians are saying. Now, medical news, that could bring hope for millions of you worried about melanoma. Over the weekend, a familiar face. A beloved Hollywood actor lost his battle with the disease. And today, a headline about a possible game-changing drug, just 18 months away. ABC's Mara schiavocampo tells us. Reporter: Actor James redhorn, a familiar face. I was distracted. I was excited to see you. Reporter: The 65-year-old losing his battle with melanoma this weekend. Putting into focus just how dangerous the disease can be. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, killing 9,500 people in the U.S. Each year. The average survival for advanced melanoma without treatment is just months. But tonight, word new drugs may be headed to the market as early as this year. I haven't been more excited than now. The immune treatments can actually stimulate the body's immune system to knock down the tumor and do this for a prolonged period of time. Reporter: Here's how the drugs work. Melanoma is so hard to stop because it can turn off your body's ability to attack it. These new drugs can keep your immune cells turned on and working against the cancer. Clinical trials have been promising. While not a cure, the drugs can increased short-term survival. That means everything, to someone like 37-year-old mom, Jennifer Stewart, who said she was first diagnosed with melanoma in 2006. Last year, she feared she had just months to live. After being admitted to a drug trial last year, steward says her scans are now completely clear. It's amazing. I don't even feel like a sick person. Reporter: But doctors say your best weapon is catching it early. Be on the lockout for new spots that are I symmetrical, have an irregular border and are larger than a pencil eraser. Early detection is critical here. What's really interesting, doctors say, don't forget to check spots that you might not think of, like behind your knees and between your toes. Get it checked, if you have any question at all. Absolutely. Thank you, Mara. Up next tonight, bombshell

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