Newly diagnosed Melanoma Stage ll

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9/10/2010 2:48pm
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Replies: 15

I know this board is more geared toward later staged melanoma patients, but I'm still really scared for my fiancee. He's 35 and had a mole removed and it tested positive for melanoma stage ll. He's scheduled for surgery in a few weeks at U of M in Ann Arbor. I'm just wondering what to expect? He has a consultation at 1 and then surgery at 2. How long does the surgery last? I expected him to have more tests done before they start removing any skin, but i'm not sure what they're going to do at the consultation. If anyone has any advice for us, let me know. I'm really scared because we have a 2 year old daughter and I want my fiancee(her father) to watch her grow up and graduate school, etc. How long is Chris (the fiancee) going to live after he gets the cancer removed?

 

-Very Worried

 

Yeah, scary place to be but you will find info and support here.  Are you sure he is Stage II and not Clarks Level II - there is a big difference.  What type of surgery will he be having?  Sounds like it is a Wide Local Excision (WLE) to remove the skin around the mole and make sure there are clear margins.  

One more thing - the board is pretty quiet on weekends so you may want to post again on Monday if you don't get a lot of responses.      I know it's easy to say, but try to stay calm until you get more information.  Keep us posted.

Fen

oops - just read the last line of your message and should have responded to that too.  There is a really good prognosis with many stages of melanoma - odds are he will watch her graduate and dance at your grand-daughters wedding.

W. - (9/10/2010 - 6:58pm)

You know it is impossible to predict the future. But it is absolutely possible that your fiancee will be cured by the surgery.

To give a prognosis, some data like Breslow thickness, absence of presence of ulceration and regression and maybe mitotic figures would be necessary. Data like this can be found in the pathology report. It is often a good idea to get a copy of reports like this for your personal archive. 

But even then, we cannot really give a prognosis on this board. That's a doctor's job. But some people might be able to chime in with personal experience when we know a bit more about your fiancee's diagnosis.

The board is not geared to any type of patient. All patients and caregivers are welcome to post. I'm wondering if your fiancee is stage II or maybe they said something like "level II" (which would be a lot less concerning)? The seriousness of a new melanoma is determined mostly by it's thickness, called the Breslow. Can you give us that information? You would get more meaningful replies if you gave us a bit more to go on. Good luck!

Actually i'm not sure if it's a stage two or level two. ;-( The doctor just called him and said it was a two and that we caught it early, but he didn't really give any more information. I think all Chris heard was the word cancer and melanoma. He's just nervous and so am i since we don't know what to expect. I told him to call his doctor to get that pathology report and know exactly what he said on the phone. So when he goes in for surgery and has the exision done, how long does that take and can he go home the same day? I will definately post more info about what he has as soon as find out. Thanks everyone for your replies.

If you "caught it early" and there was just a discussion of an additional excision, it sounds more likely to be a Clark Level II.  If it were Stage II, then they would be discussing a Sentinel Node biopsy where they check the lymph nodes.  This is done for deeper lesions and if more extensive surgery. 

Typically, the extra excision (WLE - wide local excision) can be done under local anesthesia in the office.  I've had 6 of these - gone by myself and drove myself home.  Some people have theirs done at a surgical center.  Much depends on who will do the excision.  I've had quite a few different types of surgeries -- and for an early lesion,  this should just be a bit of an inconvenience. 

Just a side-note, my 1st "early lesion" was removed over 18 years ago.  I'm one of the rare ones to get more than one lesion (about 8% do).  Always good to keep an eye out on anything that changes or seems "different".

Verify his information with the pathology report BEFORE his surgery is scheduled.  If it were stage II, you would be talking to a surgical oncologist for the lymph node test - and this needs to be done PRIOR to the WLE.  I'd definitely put in a phone call at least and ask for the Breslow depth.  That's the MOST important piece of information you can get.

Best wishes,

Janner

Thanks Janner,

Yeah he's scheduled for surgery and his doctor said he's going to get put to sleep and have more skin taken off that was around where his mole was. He originally had the mole taken off when he went in for a regular check up. But since the doctor just said it was a 2, he needed to see a specialist so that's why he's going to u of m in arr arbor, mi. So from what everyone is saying, that surgery on the 29th will be a piece of cake?

I was diagnosed Stage II MM in July of 1996.  Other than having quite a few suspicious moles removed, I'm doing great.  Prayers for you and your fiance. 

Chris is in good hands at U of M (Dr. Michael Sabel?).  They have a great team and do it every day.  I was diagnosed in January and had two surgeries including the removal of lymph nodes from under my arm.  Don't try to "control" or "fight" any of it at this point and allow the event to bring perspective to everything else in your life.  Simply listen to the doctors and learn.  Chris will be given options including pro's and con's and will participate in the decisions of his care along the way.  Most importantly, take it one day at a time and life will go on.  I cannot tell you how much more valuable every day has become for me since my diagnosis--and that is a blessing.  Stay strong...you guys will make it.

Romans 5:2b-5 - …And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us...

Chris is in good hands at U of M (Dr. Michael Sabel?).  They have a great team and do it every day.  I was diagnosed in January and had two surgeries including the removal of lymph nodes from under my arm.  Don't try to "control" or "fight" any of it at this point and allow the event to bring perspective to everything else in your life.  Simply listen to the doctors and learn.  Chris will be given options including pro's and con's and will participate in the decisions of his care along the way.  Most importantly, take it one day at a time and life will go on.  I cannot tell you how much more valuable every day has become for me since my diagnosis--and that is a blessing.  Stay strong...you guys will make it.

Romans 5:2b-5 - …And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us...

It is very scary.  I just had a SLN biospy and a WLE for stage 2 melanoma.  I think stage 2 is considered early.  I was super scared of surgery.  It was not nearly as bad as I thought that it was.  I hear that there are some placed that it is an out patient sugery.  Thankfully I actually ended up staying 3 days.  Not that staying in the hospital is fun, but it was worth it.  My results came back fine.  Life is good.  As far as how long is he going to live.....let me give you the same answer that I gave my daugher when she asked if I was going to die if I didn't have the surgery....."we don't have to think about that right now".  Everyone is there to help your man LIVE not die.   Focus on living.

Hi,

I'm so sorry that you have to be here, but you can get lots of support here (for any stage of melanoma!).  I am in the same place as you.  Husband was diagnosed with stage II in August.  In September he had more tissue removed around those areas and they did a biopsy of some lymph nodes under his arms.  His surgery took about 4 hours and left some nasty scars.  Luckily the sentinal node biopsies were clear and the margins of the other 2 areas are clear.  Today he had a PET Scan which will tell us if the cancer has spread anywhere else, and we should find out the results tomorrow.  Plans are for him to start interferon treatments in November, but everything kind of depends on what we find out from today's scan. 

Have they done any biopsies of the lymph nodes yet?  From what I've learned surgery to remove more tissue is the first thing they do, then biopsies, then a PET scan?? 

We have a 1-yr old son and I am scared to death!  Melanoma is very scary and it affects everyone who has it differently, and there is just so much information to process, as well as the whole emotional side of it.  I can't imagine what I would do without him, and I can't imagine him not being here to see his son grow up.  Feel free to email me, we seem to be kind of in the same situation, we are just a little ahead of you.  I'll keep your family in my prayers.

Akilyn

Thank you everyone for your kind words. So last week, Chris went to U of M in Ann Arbor to get some skin  taken off around where his mole was. It turns out he didn't even have stage II. He apparently didn't listen very well when the doctor was talking to him. When he got to Ann Arbor, they told him that they downgraded his melanoma to just abnormal cells. It wasn't even melanoma anymore. They still had to cut skin off though and now he has stitches on the middle of his chest. It's healing just fine though. His primary doctor didn't even say he had stage II melanoma, so i don't know where he got that from. I guess the main part is that he's okay. ;-) They also tested the skin they removed and it came back clear. ;-) I'm very thankful for him right now. ;-) God bless everyone and I will never take the sun for granted again.

Great news! I"m glad your fiance is doing so well. I'd still like to suggest that he follow up by requesting a copy of his pathology report. It sounds like everything was done perfectly, and like his prognosis is great..but this confusion of diagnosis is of concern.

He got the idea SOMEWHERE that he had melanoma, so that makes me think he did indeed have a melanoma removed. The fact that it was small and removed at a very early stage is great, but he should still KNOW..even if this requires that his slides be reevaluated by a dermapathologist.

He should definately KNOW if he has a personal history of melanoma as opposed to some benign mole.

Good luck to you both, and your littleone. Have a wonderful life!

hi Chris & CG21,

I am with Dian on this...you definitely got the idea that you had mm stage 2 from somewhere, I would try to track that down a bit...maybe they were looking at the wrong patients chart? the fact that he had to go back for more surgery says that they thought something as well because (I am not a doc) my experience is that with an atypical mole there is no further removal..  it just all sounds odd.  For me, I would be happy with a diagnosis of atypical mole but on the other hand get the path report and ask all the questions you need to until you have a full understanding