Choroidal melanoma is the most common eye cancer in adults, and Dr. Finger’s research has been key to developing treatments.
Even so, it is still extremely rare. Annually, 4-6 people per million in the US are diagnosed with choroidal melanoma, and it is found in 10-12 people per million in Australia, Europe and Russia. It occurs more commonly in people who work outdoors, and those with blue irises and fair skin. This seems to indicate that ultraviolet radiation from the sun plays a role. So Dr. Finger says, “Think of sunglasses as sunblock for your eyes.”
Dr. Finger has done extensive research in the diagnosis and treatment of choroidal melanoma, leading to pioneering treatments.
In 2009, Dr. Finger published his patient outcomes for 400 cases of intraocular melanoma treated with palladium-103 plaque radiation therapy. He found a local control rate (rate of killing the tumor in the eye) of 96.7%. With this treatment, 79% of patients retained useful vision. In 2013, he published a study that small melanomas treated with palladium-103 plaques did even better (100% local control).