MPIP: Melanoma Patients Information Page

The MPIP is the oldest and largest community of people affected by melanoma hosted through the Melanoma Research Foundation. It is designed to provide support and information to caregivers, patients, family and friends. Once you have been touched by melanoma—either as a patient or as a family member or friend of a patient—you become part of a community. It is not a community anyone joins willingly. But if you must be part of this group, you will find no better place to find the tools you need in your journey with this cancer, and the friends who can make that journey more bearable.

The information on the bulletin board is open and accessible to everyone. To add a new topic or to post a reply, you must be a registered user. Please note that you will be able to post both topics and replies anonymously even though you are logged in. All posts must abide by MRF posting policies.

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Owl's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 10/30/2014 - 10:48am

Dear all,

I just want to share some good news with you and give some hope to others.

My husband is in EAP Pembrolizumab (Europe) and just had his 12 week scans. The result is more than we hoped, everything (2 lymph mets in Abdomen and two huge tumor as well as smaller ones in neck/face) is almost gone. The scan report is written very technically, even the conclusion, but the doctors assured us that only one area is still visible, could be tumor rest or scar caused by neck dissection.

He is doing really well and has no side effects. The first weeks though he was not feeling good. He had a huge swelling in tumor areas, bad pain, could not sleep...he was on strong pain meds for about 4 weeks. It slowly improved and is gone since week 6 or 7. We could also see the tumors shrinking. This was the first time I was happy that they were visible. Even his facial nerve is slowly recovering.

It seems that Pembro / Keytruda is his magic potion and I hope it will be for many others.

All the best, Jenny

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Lisa - Aust's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 10/29/2014 - 9:37am
Replies by: Owl

Hi Everyone,

Just looking for some info/experiences/evidence!

My husband Craig has been on MK-3475 for around a year now and has luckily had a complete response.

His oncologist has raised the possibility of him coming off the drug, monitoring and re-introducing if he has a reoccurance.

At this stage it is just an option he has offered (with permission from the drug company), giving us some anecdotal evidence of a few people coming off and continuing to be stable/remain clear (He mentioned mainly people who have come off due to side effects etc, so the discovery of the ongoing response has actually been incidental). Theoretically he is thinking that perhaps the drug has 'done its job' - but obviously it hasnt been around long enough to really make a statement like that.

Does anyone know of any evidence out there/own experiences etc regarding this? 

If we went ahead, I think my hubby will be the first person in our location (Perth, Australia) to go down this path. At this stage, I am not sure if we want him being the guinea pig!

Thanks,

Lisa

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Steve2142's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 10/30/2014 - 11:19pm
Replies by: paul Lyons, kalisama, Anonymous, MattF, Mat, Bubbles, Steve2142

I met with my oncologist today after my pet scan and he advised me that my melanoma had "exploded" in a short time and has spread to my lungs, liver, and other cutaneous sites.  The number of nodules was innumberable.  I am being tested for the BRAF gene and if I have the mutation, he is suggesting a combination of Tafinlar and Mekinist.  It would be great to hear if anyone has undergone a similar treatment regiment and what their experiences have been and what side effects they experienced.  Thank you.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Replies 7
Last reply 10/29/2014 - 2:43am

Can anyone give me some examples of what a recurrnce located in your WLE would look like.   I had a WLE at the end of June and recently noticed a small bump emerge in the scar.  The bump is red so it makes it hard to tell if it just a normal part of the scaring process.

My melanoma dx has made me a constant worrier.

 

Thanks

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Kdw2012's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 10/30/2014 - 11:35am

My Doctor just called yesterday and I have 3 brain tumors. This explains the recent very bad headaches.

I am wondering what treatments are done for brain tumors?. I want to go to my appt on Thursday with info.

The doctor prescribed Dexamethasone for  swelling. He said we will have to do radiation also, but this was just over the phone yesterday and we will be discussing more at my appt.

thank you

Kim

 

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RJoeyB's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 3:49pm
Replies by: DZnDef

New video (episode 13) in OncLive's melanoma series:

http://www.onclive.com/peer-exchange/metastatic-melanoma/Surgery-Following-Systemic-Therapy-in-Melanoma

Of great personal interest to me, because I've been at this particular game of "whack-a-mole" (pun intended) for awhile...  following IL-2 and TIL, I've had several surgeries (two to leg bones, one craniotomy) to resect single mets that for whatever reason didn't respond (the bone mets) or ocurred long after systemic treatment (the brain met, 2+ years after TIL).  The approach has worked for me thus far, using systemic immunotherapies early on and addressing single mets as they've occurred with either surgery or radiation (or both), keeping the newer systemic agents available should the need arise.

Joe

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Vmarie_89's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 4:10pm
Replies by: Vmarie_89, Janner

Im scared Im unsure of what I have on the bottom of my foot I use to give myself pedicures and from what I can honestly swear I remember I did have a tiny mole where there is now what looks to be like a mole but spread! ?!? I have no idea how to upload a picture to show you but im pretty much freaking out I dont know if medi-cal covers for any type of dermatologist bills plz plz help!

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Adrian G's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 1:15pm
Replies by: arthurjedi007, Anonymous

 

 

Hi,

 

my sister has been diagnosedwith malignant melanoma in 2009 stage 3. She had 3 surgeries to removed the primary and lymph nodes. After that was receiving chimo, interferon and radiotherapy.

This august on the last CT scan a lymph node (between the kidney and spleen) was looking suspicious on the image. 

She had a surgery to completely remove the lymph node (fully encapsulted and tested positive for melanoma). Everything else looks clean. 

Does she need any adjuvant therapy after sugery? 

 

Many thanks

Adrian

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kalisama's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/29/2014 - 11:26am
Replies by: kalisama, Bubbles

Has anyone seen any specific data on this yet? 

Thank you in advance,
kali

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mary1233's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 11:17am
Replies by: Anonymous, Janner, mary1233

I am currently in remission for mucosal melanoma, so I may be overreacting.

I have two sisters who are dealing with moles removed by dermatologists who found cancer "in situ". They are planning to follow up with the dermatologist.

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GAngel's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 10/31/2014 - 6:14am
Replies by: GAngel, DZnDef, Mat, rick1981, RAngel

Hello all...just wanted to share our great news that Rudy continues to remain NED. He is still on the Tafinlar/mekinist combo taking it intermittently as well as taking cannibas oil daily. We are so thankful and blessed. We want to encourage all of you to keep on fighting and never lose hope. Keeping positive is so important. 

God bless you all...we are praying for you.

Gina and Rudy Rangel

"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done."- Philippians 4:6

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Replies 9
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 10:01pm
Replies by: Emcjones1, Bubbles, Anonymous

I just did my second CTC which measures how much melanoma is in the blood stream. The first one i did in June came back at .75 which according to the doctor meant that I had a very small amount of melanoma in blood stream and a very low risk of distant spread.

The second one however has increased allmost 6 fold to 4.25 whcih now puts me at grave risk of distant spread or recurrence. Now I dont know what to do and I am really gutted.

I am currently stage 3 but it seems like things are getting worse quickly although i still feel really good. Apparently the test which is the Maintrac CTC test  has a very good predictive value and is usually six months ahead of what happens.

I dont know what therapies I should try or what i can do now. They only thing they are offering is chemo or interferon which I wont do. 

 

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Girl52's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 10/30/2014 - 4:03am

My brother-in-law had followup visit today with general surgeon who did his WLE and SNB recently; like PET scan, nodes clean. Path report had said, "Diagnosis: metastatic melanoma" of the lesion on his arm. BIL has no plans to see an oncologist, much less a melanoma specialist, though folks here and other research indicate that he's a Stage III.

If staging information isn't cited specifically on your pathology report -- and neither your dermatologist nor surgeon use this precise language -- how do you know you're a Stage III? How do patients normally get this information. Can it happen that no one ever specifies this...that any/all doctors a patient sees assume that someone else has given him or her this info, or that he or she will arrive at this conclusion on their own? 

Surgeon didn't refer BIL to an oncologist, but did say he needed to be very alert for ANY skin changes, and any pain, fatigue, or other body signs that might indicate cancer spread. If they tell you this much, can't they come out and say, "Stage III?"   

    

Sis-in-law of person just diagnosed with metastatic non-cutaneous melanoma

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Gordknight's picture
Replies 14
Last reply 10/30/2014 - 4:09am

Let me give you a bit of my background.  Also been a hypochondriac.  Well not always, but for at least the past 8 years or so.  Always worried that everything is cancer or something equally as bad.  Well today my worst fears came true.  After a week of waiting in anguish for my biopsy results to come in for two moles I had removed I got the call today.  One of them is Melanoma.  My soul dropped into my shoes and I instantly began to think about my wife and leaving her alone on this earth.  

Im a31 almost 32 year old caucasian male.  I requested my pathology report from my dermatologist.  I am meeting with a plastic surgeon on the 3rd of November since the melanoma is located on my neck.  Here is my pathology.  I dont know how accurate it really is becase he did a shave biopsy.  

 

PROCEDURE: BIOPSY

SPECIMEN LATERALITY: Left Neck

Breslow Thickness: Favor 0.22 MM

Clark Level (not overall tumor stage): Favor II

Ulceration/max width: Not Identified

Mitotic figures: <1 per MM squared

REgression: not identified

Lymphatic Invasion: not identified 

Perineural invasion: not identified

Microscopic Satellitosis: not identified

Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes: Non-Brisk

Associsated Melanocytic Nevus: Absent

Predominant Cytology: Epitheloid

Lateral Margins: non involved (1mm)

Deep Margins: Not involved (0.5 mm)

TNM Tumor Stage: Favor T1a NX MX

 

I am even more terrified because the other day my wife accidently knicked the scab that had formed after the biopsy and caused it to bleed.  Could this make the cancer cells spread into my blood stream?  I am so scared.  Can anyone help me?

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theresar's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 10/28/2014 - 9:39am

Quick review of history- I'm a 54 yo woman initially had vulvar lesion removed 3 years ago with clean margins and lymph nodes. Now Dx in early July 2014 with metastatic mucosal melanoma with lesions on my liver and lungs. Completed my 4th infusion of Yervoy 9/25 and on follow-up visit 10/23. My oncologist said he did not need a CT to determine that the Yervoy did not work. (i might agree with the status of my belly and my liver function tests are dangerously high, LDH soaring.)

I am  seeing a melanoma specialist and he has recommended 2 options  1) I can move forward with the Keytruda which would be the next step and he would obtation a CT as a baseline but he would reccomend the Keytuda very cautiously because of my liver function-he is concerned that the side effects on my liver could put me into failure quite quickly. Or route 2) He could start me on steroids and that would temporarily make me feel much more comfortable but obviously would not treat the tumors. A palliative care and likely hospice referral would come with this option.

I was told that once I started on steriods my option for the Keytruda would be off the table. Also told that Iwould not qualify for any clinical trials because  my liver function is so bad. I know that there are other treatments out there that have been approved. I do not have any of the genetic mutations ie BRAF, etc. identified.

I know that there are other options out there beginning with a 2nd opinion and certainly alternative therapies but just looking for thoughts experiences and advice. I do live in Michigan.....

Where there is Faith there is Hope!!

Theresa

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