When Tim Aycock was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in July of 1995, he immediately began to research both the disease and the ways in which it could be treated. The internet was a useful tool that brought the research projects from around the country and other nations into his focus and to his extended network of family and friends who worked along with him.
The diagnosis of the Alexandria retinologist was confirmed at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He explored the options for treatment and traveled to the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia where Jerry and Carol Shields were his doctors. Dr. Jerry Shields was the foremost authority on ocular melanoma and had taught the doctors Tim saw at Hopkins. Dr. Carol Shields did his surgery.
Go to http://www.willseye.org
When the melanoma reappeared in his lungs in November of 1998, Tim consulted with specialists at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and at Johns Hopkins who advised chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before attempting surgery. A doctor at NIH in Bethesda, MD, and the parent of one of Tim's friends suggested he get another opinion from Dr. Donald L. Morton at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA. Dr. Morton was very involved in researching melanoma as well as a top thoracic surgeon.
Tim and parents traveled to Santa Monica in January and met with Dr. Morton who scheduled the surgery immediately. Tim enrolled in a cancer vaccine protocol and made many cross country flights for medical visits.
Go to http://www.jwci.org
In 2001 Tim was treated for melanoma lesions in the brain at the University of Southern California with the gamma knife. Dr. Zbigniew Petrovitch was the head of the program at this time.
In the spring of 2002 Tim learned the melanoma had spread to his spine and researched cutting-edge solutions. One of the very positive options was found at Georgetown University Hospital and he was treated both by surgery and by the first in the area CyberKnife. Dr. Francis Henderson was his surgeon.
Other places to search for information are:
The Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center at UVA, Tim's alma mater, was dedicated in February of 2011. The Timothy Aycock Melanoma Research Foundation is supporting the University's melanoma research and is proud of the plaque noting this at the Cancer Center.