Clinical Trials, Melanoma and A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles

Mary Elizabeth Williams –

From melanoma diagnosis to clinical trial veteran, this stage 4 survivor has experienced firsthand the challenges and triumphs that come with cancer. Her story is one of luck, timing, science, and also hope. 

So sit back and join us on this impressive journey of survival.

We are saving lives one episode at a time!

Ep. 114

Welcome to the 2023 Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Seriespart 6

Mary Elizabeth Williams is an author and journalist and has been dedicated to raising awareness about cancer and advocating for patients. Her personal experience with stage 4 melanoma and immunotherapy clinical trials, thirteen years ago, inspired her to write her book “A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles”. This dynamic story offers a unique perspective on this disease, the impact it had on her family and the transformation that comes with facing death and learning to live again. 

Mary Elizabeth is actively involved in various cancer organizations, including Stand Up to Cancer‘s immunotherapy dream team, Gilda’s Club, and the Cancer Research Institute. Her mission is to use her voice and writing talents to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. She recently completed her certification in both Narrative Medicine and Conflict Resolution & Leadership furthering her mission to improve communication and understanding in the medical field.

I went in for a surgical biopsy, and I woke up to hear that it had metastasized, and I had metastatic cancer. At this point in cancer history, you’re probably going to die within about six months. Melanoma is a really tricky and really vicious form of cancer… It’s not a “good” cancer. If you get it and it has spread. It can spread anywhere. It is really pernicious because you have melanin everywhere. It can go all over your body. It doesn’t care. It doesn’t have a predictable trajectory like other forms of cancers

I agree we need to be proactive and take responsibility for our health. Her experience with stage 4 metastatic melanoma led to the immunotherapy clinical trial she participated in, that changed the immunotherapy landscape and has now become a standard treatment for various types of cancer.

The importance of doctors displaying empathy and compassion when treating patients is crucial, as well as the need for diversity in clinical trials in the melanoma community. She believes that her survival was partly due to luck and part science. Mary Elizabeth talked about the challenge of accepting your mortality and how it transforms your outlook on life. This is so true. 

Her book  “A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles” was and continues to be monumental in my journey with melanoma. I highly recommend reading it.

The opportunity to speak with Mary Elizabeth was out of this world! I am so grateful!!! What an amazing soul.

Go to Mary Elizabeth to learn more about her and her mission.
To get a copy of her book:  “A Series of Catastrophes and Miracles” 

Articles about Mary Elizabeth and clinical trials: Melanoma Research Alliance Article and Cancer Research Institute Article

Modern Love – With Hearts and Eyes Open: Season 2 Ep 8 

Let’s work together to stop skin cancer and save lives! 

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Series

The Importance of Clinical Trials for Melanoma

1. Clinical trials help to develop new treatments

Clinical trials are essential in developing new treatments for melanoma. They allow researchers to test new drugs and therapies to determine their effectiveness and safety.

2. Clinical trials provide access to cutting-edge treatments

Participating in a clinical trial can provide access to cutting-edge treatments that may not yet be available to the general public. This can be especially important for patients with advanced melanoma who have exhausted other treatment options.

3. Clinical trials help to improve existing treatments

Clinical trials also help to improve existing treatments for melanoma. By testing different dosages, combinations, and delivery methods, researchers can determine the most effective way to use existing treatments.

4. Clinical trials provide valuable data

Clinical trials provide valuable data that can help researchers better understand melanoma and how it responds to different treatments. This information can be used to develop new treatments and improve existing ones.

5. Clinical trials help to personalize treatment

Clinical trials can help to personalize treatment for melanoma patients. By testing different treatments on different patient populations, researchers can determine which treatments are most effective for specific types of melanoma.

6. Clinical trials offer hope

Participating in a clinical trial can offer hope to patients with melanoma. It provides an opportunity to receive cutting-edge treatments and contribute to the development of new treatments that may help others in the future.

7. Clinical trials are necessary for progress

Clinical trials are necessary for progress in the fight against melanoma. Without clinical trials, new treatments would not be developed, existing treatments would not be improved, and progress in the fight against melanoma would be slowed.

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** Sailing Through Life Podcast is intended to educate, inspire and support you on your personal journey and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only. If you are suffering from any psychological or medical conditions, please seek help from a qualified health professional.

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Published by Lorie

Hello and welcome to Sailing Through Life! My name is Lorie. I am a 2-time melanoma cancer survivor and a sailor - in my heart and on the water. I want to be a beacon of light to others with life challenges and be an inspiration to stay positive while going through these life-altering events. Join me as I set sail on this new adventure... Sailing Through Life.

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