Former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres has spent the better part of a year being treated for stage 3 melanoma. The model and actress shared Tuesday that her treatment, which involved immunotherapy and radiation, was finally coming to an end.
“Today is a great day for me and my family!” Torres wrote in an Instagram caption for a video she shared documenting her cancer journey. “Praying and begging now on my knees that in March when I have all my exams (MRI, CT, PET) [they] come all NEGATIVE!”
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Torres, 45, went on to share how much she appreciates the support she has gotten from loved ones. This includes her brothers, who traveled from Puerto Rico and Arizona to be with her in Los Angeles for her final treatment, as well as her mom and many, many friends.
Her two sons — Cristian and Ryan — whose dad is her ex-husband, singer Marc Anthony, have also made a point to be there for their mom throughout the cancer treatment, which the Puerto Rican actress has expressed the utmost gratitude for in the past.
Here, she gets a surprise prior to her last treatment:
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#AboutLastNight Mi hermano Ricky voló desde #PuertoRico hasta #LosAngeles y luego mi hermano mayor Jowie viajo desde Arizona de sorpresa para estar conmigo hoy… que es un día muy importante para mi… #ItsAnewDay #CancerSucks #Guerrera #iGotThis #BeBrave ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Also in her latest post, Torres touched on a really important topic: The side effects that can accompany cancer treatment.
“What a year so full of emotions, uncertainties, fatigue, intense pains that have not let me rest [or get] sleep, weight gain, nausea daily, and everything tastes like metal,” Torres wrote. “…but it was a year full of learning … what a strong experience and lesson for me!”
Torres has maintained an incredibly positive attitude throughout her experience — and remained as active as possible as well. She even appeared at the Sunday night finale of Univision’s “Mira Quién Baila All Stars” (“MQBAS”) this week and dazzled fans with some pretty incredible dance moves.
Immunotherapy for Melanoma
Immunotherapy — which utilizes to body’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells — has made great strides in treating melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. However, as Torres shared, side effects can be a real issue — and can, at times, be quite severe.
In a previous conversation with SurvivorNet, Dr. Anna Pavlick, a professor of medicine and dermatology at the NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, explained that while side effects from immunotherapy can be incredibly uncomfortable there are sometimes dose adjustments or other things a person’s medical team can do to alleviate some of those discomforts.
“The side effects of immunotherapy are not, quote, forever,” Dr. Pavlick said, noting that how medical teams manage these issues depends on the severity.
Dr. Anna Pavlick, of NYU, explains that immunotherapy side effects can be a risk for some melanoma patients.
“There are some patients who will get diarrhea, and we can give them treatments to calm down their diarrhea and it lasts a couple of days … there are patients who will get colitis, and those are patients that require intravenous medicines to stop the diarrhea,” she said.
Dr. Pavlick also noted that adverse side effects — which can also include abdominal pain and rashes as well as more serious issues like pancreatitis, colitis, pneumonitis, hepatitis, and thyroiditis — are more likely to present in patients who are being given a combination of immunotherapy drugs. So, going down to one immunotherapy agent may be one way to solve the issues.