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Clinical trial close to home offers hope to local police officer

Hendersonville Police Lt. Dale Patton wishes he hadn't put off seeing a doctor because the diagnosis was melanoma, a serious and aggressive type of skin cancer. Patton underwent three surgeries to remove the Stage 3 disease from his lymph nodes. He continues with immunotherapy at Pardee Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of a clinical trial through the University of North Carolina. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

"I started noticing a year and a half ago, almost two years ago, I got a large lump in my armpit."

Hendersonville Police Lt. Dale Patton wishes he hadn't put off seeing a doctor because the diagnosis was melanoma, a serious and aggressive type of skin cancer.

"I've dealt with a lot of things in my life I thought were tragic and I've been able to overcome those things," Patton said. "But, that (cancer diagnosis) really took the wind out of my sails."

"We did this pretty expansive workup to figure out where it all started, and we couldn't find it," explained Dr. Navin Anthony, of Hendersonville Hematology and Oncology. "There are some melanomas where that happens."

Patton underwent three surgeries to remove the Stage 3 disease from his lymph nodes. He continues with immunotherapy at Pardee Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of a clinical trial through the University of North Carolina.

"If we can hardness the power of the immune system to attack the cancer, why can't we do that in Stage 3 just like in Stage 4?" Anthony said of the clinical trial.

"It could be worse," Patton insisted. "I know a lot of people in a lot worse shape than me. There's nothing I still can't do."

It's that can do attitude that's keeping him going and giving hope to others because of his part in a clinical trial.


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