Mucosal Melanoma: What Does The Month Of May Mean To You? - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Maria Quiban

Mucosal Melanoma: What Does The Month Of May Mean To You?

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The month of May brings so many things…. I think of May Day, Lei Day, Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s day….but this year I’m thinking about my friend Marcus Reimel. For him, this May means so much more. And now, it does to me too. May is Melanoma Awareness month and my friend Marcus was recently diagnosed with a rare form of Mucosal Melanoma. That’s about 700 people or 1% of melanoma patients diagnosed annually across the United States.

Speaking to Marcus recently while he was here a couple of weeks ago, trying to enter an experimental treatment program at UCLA, I was struck by his incredible positive spirit and fighting attitude. I remember him when we worked together in Hawaii at my first news job at NBC Hawaii News8. He was one of our video journalists and is one of the nicest people you will ever meet! I know what you’re thinking… I always say that about most people I know in Hawaii….but Marcus definitely epitomizes the Aloha Spirit.

Marcus’ story about his diagnosis is shocking to say the least. The type of cancer he has is rare and even rarer for someone his age. He’s only 42 years old. He has a loving, beautiful wife Noreen and 3 wonderful young boys. He was visiting from Hawaii to get into an experimental program at UCLA that would give him the best chances for surviving. But sadly after being here for a couple of weeks and going through more tests, doctors told him that his tumors were about 2mm too small for him to participate. It was crushing. This Anti-PD-1 Immunotherapy Clinical Trial has apparently had positive results for many who are fighting this disease as it attacks it systemically. The way Marcus explained it to me was that each cancer cell in his body is basically wearing a disguise and that disguise prevents your body from killing it because you’re being tricked into thinking it’s a good cell. This new trial drug would help your body from removing that “disguise”. It’s all just so crazy! For now, he will return to Hawaii to find other forms of treatment.

When it comes to social media, there are many reasons to dislike it sometimes. But today I love the fact that I can click on Marcus’ Blog and get an update on how he’s doing. He told me how his blog has helped others researching this rare disease, so I thought I would help spread the word. In a recent post, Marcus joked with his wife saying “you know you are old when you research cancer on the internet. I used to look up fun things like electronics, video editing software, cars, video games, but now I know I’m old when my research is basically cancer and treatment options for my metastatic melanoma. And that is me now, on the daily looking for new info regarding Yervoy, or PD-1 immunotherapy. Yikes!! .” He goes on to say, “Not to scare any new followers, but our odds are not great. According to the literature from the Mucosal Melanoma resources, our odds are only 25% of surviving 5 years. I know we all will keep fighting and hoping to beat those odds.” The irony of course is that Marcus is far from old! Watch this video that Marcus made to help highlight the fun he has with his family and also to “not sweat the small things”.

With May being Melanoma Awareness Month (skin cancer), let’s all find ways to:

1) Protect ourselves from skin cancers and protect ourselves from harmful UV rays as much as we can. Practice Sun Safety.

2) Spread awareness on this disease and help fund ways to find a cure

For more information and ways to prevent Melanoma visit

I’ve attached Marcus’ information below. Please send him a message. For anyone who is warrior or knows anyone who is fighting this battle, simple words of encouragement can mean a lot!

And please share the links to help spread awareness and prevention. J




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