The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 31 COVID patients today, 28 Friday. Other significant numbers:
- 18 with the active virus today, 15 Friday
- 4 in ICU, 3 Friday
- 1 on a ventilator, 0 Friday
Key points from today’s guests:
Mark Morgan, melanoma patient
- May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and as part of “Melanoma Monday”, Mark is sharing his skin cancer story.
- In 2009, he had a suspicious mole removed and had annual skin cancer checks. In 2019, he found that melanoma had spread to his lymph nodes.
- He is thankful for Dr. Doolittle and his team to give him the right information to handle his cancer and help him moving forward.
- As an avid outdoorsman, he is even more protective than ever now, using sunscreen, wearing hats and long sleeve shirts.
Dr. Gary Dolittle, medical oncologist, The University of Kansas Health System
- Melanoma is one of the three main skin cancers in addition to squamous cell and basal cell.
- The trouble with melanoma is it has the capacity to spread from where it starts to other areas of the body. That's when it becomes a big problem because up until the last 10 years, we've not had good treatments for melanoma once it had spread.
- It's a lot better to have had melanoma in 2019 than it was in 2010. If he had met Mark 10 years prior, he would have had about an 80 percent chance of that melanoma progressing and ultimately, not surviving it.
- Now, we have new agents called “targeted agents” that help. With Mark, it was all about trying to get his disease under control with immunotherapy.
- Immunotherapy is turning the cancer world inside out. What is so amazing about it is drugs that harness the body's own immune cells and activates them as activated immune cells to go after the cancer cells.
Dr. Luke Selby, surgical oncologist, The University of Kansas Health System
- Mark came to us at a time when immunotherapy was available. And that's a good thing because we found out through a national study that we participated in that found that starting with immunotherapy in patients that present with lymph nodes that are swollen, is an advantage.
- The timing was ideal, but his approach to the disease process and getting through the therapy was inspirational.
- In the medical world, we’re on our third or fourth generation of immunotherapy and we have new stuff and trials that we're participating in, so the science is changing very, very rapidly.
- Five years ago, no one would have expected being able to have this conversation. Five years from now, it's probably going to seem a little bit anachronistic because we're going to have some other new treatment that we don't know about.
- Prevention is key. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen that is above 30 SPF and re-apply it every couple of hours and try to avoid the sun from 10-4. Use hats and cover your skin if you have to be outdoors during that time.
Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control, The University of Kansas Health System
- We do believe that COVID will stay in circulation. It will hopefully become more seasonal like the other respiratory viruses, including influenza, and those other common cough and cold coronaviruses.
- Studies vary, but it looks like around 5-15 percent of people will get reinfected.
- With reinfection, it seems like the risks of hospitalization seem to go down and severe disease seem to go down, but there are caveats to that as well, especially with those at higher risk.
- It is important to try and understand your own health situation and always practice those pillars of infection prevention and control.
- Most importantly, stay updated with your vaccines.
Tuesday, May 2 at 8 a.m. is the next Morning Medical Update. Pain relief at the press of a button. Learn more about the science behind a spinal cord stimulator.