"Frank believes that his two guardian angels are Dr. Weber and The Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Frank says “Dr. Weber gave me hope for a cure and Lazarex gave me financial assistance to make the trip every three weeks."
Frank Millis and his wife live in St. Augustine, FL. Frank has always been an entrepreneur. In 2011, the recession forced him to close their business. While looking for work, their savings ran dry and they were forced to short-sale their home. Just when they thought they couldn't possibly take any more bad news, it came knocking hard on the door.
On August 10, 2012, Frank had just finished a work out at the neighborhood fitness center. Thinking his chest was sore from doing push-ups, he noticed a lump deep inside of his left breast. Not letting grass grow under his feet, Frank made an appointment with Baptist Hospital in Jacksonville FL. After a quick examination, the doctor sent Frank to the Hill Breast Center for a mammogram. Much to Frank's surprise, breast cancer is common in men.
The mammogram indicated a 1.5cm lump so they immediately performed a sonogram and needle guided biopsy. For the next week, Frank prepared himself mentally for the “worst case” diagnosis of breast cancer and did a lot of research. Nothing could have prepared him for the results. More bad news was about to come knocking.
On August 17th at 3pm, the doctor called with the biopsy results. Frank asked him if it was breast cancer and the doctor responded that he wished it was. Breast cancer has more treatment options than Stage IV Melanoma. Chemo therapy and radiation have little impact or success with melanoma. The doctor suggested that Frank spend as much time with his family as possible over the coming months.
The surgeons at Baptist removed the tumor from Frank's breast and the sentinel node gland on August 21st. Essentially, it was a lumpectomy. Frank is one of the few men that can truly understand what it may be like for women who get breast cancer.
Many people would have given up at this point, but Frank refused to give up hope. He said lots of prayers and conducted research over the internet for several weeks. He made contact with Dr. Jeffrey Weber, the Director of the Moffitt Cutaneous Cancer Center in Tampa. Moffitt is on the leading edge of melanoma drug trials and vaccines.Dr. Weber is one of the world's foremost authorities on melanoma.
At their first appointment, Dr. Weber stated that even though the tumors were removed, there was a very strong probability of a recurrence. If he did nothing, Frank's life expectancy was only about 30 months. Dr. Weber tested Frank's DNA and found that he was eligible for the GSK Mage Vaccine Trial.
Frank made the trip to Moffitt every 3 weeks for CAT scans, MRIs, and blood tests. Once they confirmed that there were no new tumors, they gave him the Mage vaccine and immune boosters. The side effects were much milder than chemo therapy. Fevers up to 103 degrees, body aches, and fatigue.
Frank believes that his two guardian angels are Dr. Weber and The Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Frank says “Dr. Weber gave me hope for a cure and Lazarex gave me financial assistance to make the trip every three weeks.”
The Mage treatments have continued for the past year. The Mage treatments, (coupled with an anti- angiogenic diet) may be preventing more melanoma tumors. Dr. Weber says that the Mage treatment may be buying time and is confident that a melanoma cure will be found in the next five years.
In the meantime, Frank is now back at work, playing with his grand-children and enjoying every day to its fullest. His new goal is to be the healthiest melanoma patient ever and has been working out again. He hopes to prove it soon by getting back to the point that he can do 100 push-ups at a time.