Objective: Compare 5-year melanoma survival rates to rates in medical literature.
Setting: Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.
Patients: White adult patients (N = 153) with superficial spreading and nodular melanoma, aged 25-72 years.
Intervention: Gerson's diet therapy: lactovegetarian; low sodium, fat and (temporarily) protein; high potassium, fluid, and nutrients (hourly raw vegetable/fruit juices). Metabolism increased by thyroid; calorie supply limited to 2600-3200 calories per day. Coffee enemas as needed for pain and appetite.
Main outcome measure: 5-year survival rates by stage at admission.
Results: Of 14 patients with stages I and II (localized) melanoma, 100% survived for 5 years, compared with 79% of 15,798 reported by Balch. Of 17 with stage IIIA (regionally metastasized) melanoma, 82% were alive at 5 years, in contrast to 39% of 103 from Fachklinik Hornheide. Of 33 with combined stages IIIA + IIIB (regionally metastasized) melanoma, 70% lived 5 years, compared with 41% of 134 from Fachklinik Hornheide. We propose a new stage division: IVA (distant lymph, skin, and subcutaneous tissue metastases), and IVB (visceral metastases). Of 18 with stage IVA melanoma, 39% were alive at 5 years, compared with only 6% of 194 from the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. Survival impact was not assessed for stage IVB. Male and female survival rates were identical for stages I-IIIB, but stage IVA women had a strong survival advantage.
Conclusions: The 5-year survival rates reported here are considerably higher than those reported elsewhere. Stage IIIA/B males had exceptionally high survival rates compared with those reported by other centers.