Roy Robertson, a Monticello, Iowa native and retired aviation engineer of 42 years, was diagnosed with stage three melanoma in July of 2018. During a routine visit to see Dr. Thomas Richmann, UnityPoint Clinic Family Medicine doctor, Robertson inquired about a small discoloration on his forearm, “It had been there for the last four or five years. I noticed it was changing in size and color and Dr. Richmann had me get a biopsy done just days later,” Robertson explains.
The Advanced Melanoma & Skin Cancer Clinic at the Nassif Community Cancer Center specializes in invasive and non-invasive melanoma along with other advanced types of skin cancer. Soon after the initial biopsy and diagnosis, Robertson was referred to the clinic where Dr. A. John Vander Zee, plastic surgeon with the Melanoma and Advanced Skin Care Clinic at the Community Cancer Center, removed the lesion and a team began working to coordinate his care.
“Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer treated in this area,” says Dr. Vander Zee. “Now patients have one place to go where services come to them. It is seamless, centralized and more convenient.” The rest of Robertson’s care team included Connie Dietiker, care coordinator at the Nassif Community Cancer Center, and Bharat Jenigiri, MD, an oncologist with Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa.
“Everyone at the cancer center has been outstanding to work with and very supportive,” says Robertson. He encourages others not to prolong a visit to the doctor, “had I waited, my situation would have been much different.”
Today, Robertson is healthy and is receiving monthly immunotherapy treatments to help his immune system destroy cancer cells. He’s happy to be back in the cockpit of his single engine plane and is looking forward to future travels.