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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Colleen66's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 6/17/2014 - 11:48am

Hi Warriors.

I'm stage 3b and 1 1/2 years out from surgeries and 1 month of HD Intferon.  I am currently stable with only 2 small, mets in my lung ( they have been stable since a year ago April).

I am developing Vitiligo on my hands and wrists.  I noticed some small pigment changes some months ago but nothing I would have connected it to Vitiligo.  It has spread since then and is now obvious what is going on.  Even though my skin is already very pale it is still quite noticible.  I will be making an appointment with my Derm on Monday or possibly just go straight to Oncologist????

This is what I have read so far about the connected between the two conditions.

Anyone have this happen or any thoughts or advice for me?




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Camila Navarro's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 6/24/2014 - 11:38pm

Hi everyone, I'm Vania's daughter. We're from Brazil, so, I'm really sorry for my bad english.

My mom had a mole in the right leg since ever, and noticed that it changed a little, it got a little bigger and darker. So she went to the dermatologist, that looked and said that it should be taked off, for a biopsy. The biopsy took 3 weeks to be ready, and we got very nervous about it. So, when the result came, it showed that it was a stage IV melanoma. The doctor said that she should pass for a surgery that would take off more tissue from around the mole, and have a biopsy of de sentinela limph. The biopsy came positive, so the doctor recommended another surgery, to take the other limph...

She also had a petscan, that was clean, and I thank God for it!

We are waiting for the results of this surgery, and we're very nervous.


I'm researching a lot about this disease and I found this website, that It's like a blessing, cause I saw many people that had a stage IV melanoma and lived for a lot o years.

When I researched about the life expectation, I got in panic...


I hope I have good news about the next results...


Thank you for your atenttion.


Mother have a stage III melanoma


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Vicki88's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 6/16/2014 - 12:16am

My husband was recently diagnosed by a shaved biopsy from a spot on his nose.  He also has a streak under his fingernail that has not been addressed.

Upon the diagnose of melanoma, he was referred to a dermatologist specializing is Moh's surgery who is recommending removal with plastic surgery repair the following day.

My question is that, with no full body exam done by either dermatologist, is the normal proticol?

Also, since we failed to point out the streak under his fingernail, is there possibly more going on and if so, is seeing a specialist with Moh's surgery enough to address a more systemic possiblity?  He did do a physical exam by feeling each of his lymph nodes.  Is this enough?

I read that some melanoma's, if caught early and by their location, were less likely to spread.  Only, I do not know where these types of melanoma's are, nor what types of tests are needed to determine if they have or have not spread.

It is just over an hour to see these doctor's and would be the same amount of time to go on to MD Anderson. 

Should we go on to MD Anderson to have the whole body addressed?

Thank you for answering...Vicki88



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ecc26's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 6/21/2014 - 7:43am

Hello there,

I just started the Merk PD-1 EAP this week (first dose this past Wednesday). I'm hoping to hear from some of the others out there that have done PD-1 either as a trial or as part of the EAP's. Specifically from those who recieved the lower doses (similar to what is being given in the EAPs). I'd like to know, for those of you who got a positive response, how quickly did you notice positive changes? I've got some tumors that were growing rather quickly after having discontinued the BRAF/MEK combo in preparation for PD-1. They've become quite uncomfortable and I have to take pain killers at regular intervals. My concern is that if I don't get a relatively quick response these and other tumors will be a serious problem as there's one next to my aorta, one in a vertebrae, another one that's perispinal, etc. By "response" I'd certainly take a slowing or stabilization, I'm just wondering how early people noticed anything once they started.

Thanks everyone


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Gene_S's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 6/16/2014 - 8:37pm
Replies by: DZnDef

“The Quest for The Cures” 24 hour replay marathon
has started.

If you missed any of the shows before or simply want
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Live 4 today. Thank God for all he has done for us. Looking forward to enjoying tomorrow.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 6/15/2014 - 10:42pm
Replies by: Anonymous, Janner, kathycmc, SABKLYN, Julie in SoCal, Teochasse

I took my little girl to the derm for a rash, and had the doctor look at a small mole on my shoulder.   He told me he is certain it is melanoma.  I had no other spots or crazy moles. I've never had anything before.  He asked me where I want "treatment". I don't even know what treatment consists of.  He initially told me he would call in a week with results. After the biopsy, he said why don't we just schedule an appointment to discuss the results.  I looked at him and said "melanoma like I have cancer?!" He seemed certain after doing the biopsy I did.  

Can they see this just from the biopsy?  


I was in year at this point, and looked at the nurse.  I said "I can't believe this just happened, I'm getting married in a month". I said this thinking I can't be diagnosed with cancer now, I've got a lot of fun and exciting things to plan for. Dress fittings, and picking out the cowboy boots for the flower girls.  Her respond was "oh you are worried about the stitches and incision?"- I looked at her with my jaw dropped, and said "I don't know what you mean"- she said oh and said I'll ask the doctor if surgery can wait until after the wedding. She came back in and said "the doctor said we will discuss that next week".  

The things they said give me no hope it's "nothing". My fiancée and I are getting married in a month and have 5 little ones between us. This can't be my "story"?! God has blessed us beyond words, and I feel like next week I'm going to hear it's all about to be taken away.  

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mclaus23's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 6/19/2014 - 9:35pm
Replies by: brittanyx, Rod, Marianne quinn, Anonymous, Linny, Socks

What treatments are you all doing for stage 3 ? I've had a friend that was recently diagnosed . Any advice would be great :))

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amuah29's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/14/2014 - 11:42pm

Does anyone have any information on the joint pain side effects from the Yervoy trials? Thank you.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 0
Anonymous's picture
Replies 0

Jun 13, 2014 07:41 AM EDT

Americans Who Survive Cancer Face Significant Economic Burden

By Benita Matilda


Most cancer survivors in the United States experience a significant economic burden, according to a new federal report.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights that soaring medical costs, health insurance access and reduced productivity at work have a drastic impact due to which cancer survivors face a heavy financial burden.

 "Cancer survivors face physical, emotional, psychosocial, employment and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment," said Donatus U. Ekwueme, PhD, a senior health economist at CDC's Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. "With the number of cancer survivors expected to increase by more than 30 percent in the next decade - to 18 million Americans -- medical and public health professionals must be diligent in their efforts to help reduce the burden of cancer on survivors and their families."

For this study, to estimate the annual medical costs and productivity losses among cancer survivors (18 years and older) and those without a cancer diagnosis, researchers analyzed data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2008-2011 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The researchers estimated reduced productivity by analyzing employment disability, health related missed work and the number of days spent in bed due to ill health.

The annual medical costs of male cancer survivors from 2008-2011 was more than $8,000 per person and productivity was less than $3,700 compared to males without a history of cancer. Among females the medical cost per person was $8,400 and productivity loss was $4,000.

Females were more likely to survive cancer. Among cancer survivors, employment disability accounted for 75 percent of lost productivity. Nearly 10 percent of survivors of age 65 and younger were uninsured.

The authors noted, "Nearly 32 percent of survivors experienced limitations in their usual daily activities outside of work because of cancer. Among those employed, more than 42 percent had to make changes to their work hours and duties. Comprehensive health and employment intervention programs may be needed to improve outcomes for cancer survivors and their families."

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5dives's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 6/13/2014 - 11:45pm
Replies by: 5dives, Anonymous, RJoeyB, JoshF, Janner, Tim--MRF, mary1233

Hello all, 

I am writing with what may seem a very basic question. I recently received "the call" from my derm that I have a superficial spreading melanoma, .96 mm, Clark's level 4, mitosis rate 2, brisk TIL. At first glance, I see that this will probably be 1b, right? 

Derm says .96 is close enough to 1 mm to warrant the SNB, and he referred me to the cancer center at Loyola Medical Center. Surgeon = Godellas, doctor = Joseph Clark. 

I see that Dr. Clark is heading several clinical trials, and my derm said he "lives and breathes" melanoma. He said that if he had a loved one with melanoma, he'd send them to Dr. Clark.

My question: I see this term "major cancer center" thrown around on this board, and I have to admit...I don't know what it means. I know many feel melanoma is too serious to be treated anywhere but at a major center, and I live in Chicago, so there's probably a "better" choice here...but I wouldn't even begin to know where the nearest "major cancer center" to me is.

My cousin died of melanoma, and I'm 45 with three boys...I do NOT plan to mess around with this disease. Bull by the horns, and all that.

Any thoughts appreciated.



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robbier's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 6/12/2014 - 5:51pm

Hello everyone, I was first diagnosied in August of 2011 and was in remission until the scans found hot spots  March of 2014.  After two biospys and a trip to Md Anderson.  I am most stressed than usual.  At MD Anderson the doctor order a CT scan, which he showed us (myself and my sister).  According to that scan there was a small mass near my urethea, a suspucious lymph node, and spot near my liver.  He thought that spot near my liver was just a blood vessel.  He told me I needed another biospy and I could chooose to do that out at MD Anderson or at home.  He also told me that any treatment I considered could be done at Md Anderon or  home.  My thoughts was at that time, well if they can do this at home, I will go home and have it done.  I was so wrong.  Come to find out, that mass my cancer doctor thought was just my uretha just constricted, and that lymph node is near some bile duct and hard to get to.  I saw my surgeon yesterday and he is getting with a expert in that to see how to remove that node at this time.  My surgeon recemmended I go back to MD anderson.  At this point in time I feel like nobody cares about me, and this unrest of the going back and forth and not knowing what to do for me us unreal.


Plus every time I have been on  this site, it like nobody out there cares about what I am  going through or the fact that I feel like a ping pong ball going back and forth.  My Doctor here in Alabama basically told me, that we do not have the medical expertise that knows how to watch someone that is doing teatments.  Then Md Andseron didn't seem to care about me.  Really?  This is my life we are talking about.  I am now considered to be in Stage 4, M 1 B, because that cancer spread to my lung.  I need information fast so I can make a decison on what to do and where to go.  Need Help fast.


I have not had any treatment, and do have the BRAF gene 6000E.

I believe in God and his son Jesus, I know that this is not everyones belief. I know that God has me in his hand, I might not like what I am going through but God is the one that gives me strength fromd day to day.

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Acral melanoma tumors may require more aggressive surgical treatment


Gunmaste PV. J Clin Oncol. 32:5s, 2014. (suppl; abstr 9052).


June 11, 2014



Acral melanoma was found to have higher recurrence and lower survival rates than other types of melanoma and may require more aggressive surgical intervention, according to researchers.



The researchers selected patients from a prospectively enrolled cohort of primary melanoma patients at NYU Langone Medical Center; 61 patients with acral melanoma and 183 patients with non-acral melanoma were included. Median follow-up was 33 months in the acral melanoma cohort and 58 months in the non-acral melanoma cohort.


Compared with non-acral melanoma, the acral histologic subtype was found to be an independent negative predictor of recurrence-free survival (P < .001) and melanoma-specific survival (P = .001), according to the researchers.


Recurrence rates were significantly higher in patients with acral melanoma (49%) compared with patients who had non-acral melanoma (30%; P = .007).


The researchers also found that in tumors with a thickness of less than 2 mm, there was a significantly higher recurrence rate of acral melanoma at 28% compared with non-acral melanoma at 10% (P = .048). Additionally, the rate of loco-regional recurrence was nearly double among patients with acral melanoma (39%) compared with patients who had non-acral melanoma (19%; P = .001).


Disclosure: The study was supported by the Perlmutter NYU Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Center Support Grant (5 P30 CA 016087-2), and the Marc Jacobs Campaign to support melanoma research. Stein received support by the Irwin I. Lubowe Fellowship in Dermatology.

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