Tim Shiery was diagnosed with melanoma in 2005, at the age of 47. "I had a black mole on the back of my neck that could no longer be hidden with a band aid," Shiery says.
After a visit to the family physician, Shiery was referred to MD Anderson.
Under the care of surgeon Jeffrey Lee, M.D., and oncologist Patrick Hwu, M.D., he underwent a successful surgery and five rounds of interferon.
But two years later, the cancer was back. This time it was stage IV metastatic melanoma, which had spread to his brain and lungs.
After another surgery to remove the spots, Shiery was hopeful that he would once again be cancer free.
He was wrong.
A few more spots appeared on his liver, skin and bones. Hwu suggested high-dose chemotherapy, interleukin-2, as well as TIL cell therapy.
Although the treatment sounded unbearable, Shiery was determined to do whatever Hwu recommended.
"Dr. Hwu is not only knowledgeable, he's personable too." Shiery says. "He used sports analogies so I could understand what was going on. He was able to relate it to me in a way that made sense. Dr. Hwu is one of my best friends now."
After a roller coaster ride with melanoma, Shiery currently is without evidence of disease.
Listen to his words of advice to current and future cancer patients.