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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Ginger8888's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 11/11/2014 - 5:50am
Replies by: enatti, Ginger8888, DZnDef, Anonymous

Although this is not the pure oil that is really benefiting people, hopefully this will work, hoping one day they will approve the pure oil, the cannaboids in it's ingredients are what is "curing" some cancers..

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Leslie'sHusband's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/16/2014 - 8:53am
Replies by: Leslie'sHusband, Marianne quinn, Anonymous

Les had her CT scan at Duke two weeks ago.  She was supposed to get a PET/CT with contrast, but once again, insurance got in the way of what the doctors requested.  Anyway, they found a place on her liver, and a small spot on one of her lungs.  The doctors requested an MRI to take a closer look at the liver, but seem to not be excited about the lung.  We head back to Duke tomorrow for the MRI.  Here is what was written about the CT:

CT chest, abdomen, and pelvis with IV contrast

Comparison: Outside PET/CT dated 2/27/2014.

Indication: V10.82 Personal history of malignant melanoma of skin, eval
for metastases

Technique: CT imaging was performed of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis
following the uncomplicated administration of intravenous contrast
(Isovue-300, 150 mL at 3 mL/sec). Iodinated contrast was used due to the
indications for the examination, to improve disease detection and to
further define anatomy. The most recent serum creatinine is not available.
3-D maximal intensity projection (MIP) reconstructions of the chest were
performed to potentially increase study sensitivity. Coronal images were
also generated and reviewed.

There is a faint nodular opacity measuring 4 mm in the right lower lobe
(series 6, image 37). There is bibasilar atelectasis and scarring. There is
biapical pleural scarring.

The thyroid gland is normal in appearance. There is no evidence for
axillary, mediastinal, or hilar adenopathy. The heart is normal in size.
There is no pericardial effusion. The pulmonary parenchyma is normal in
appearance, with no abnormal pulmonary parenchymal opacities. There is no
pleural effusion. The central airways are patent.

There is a enhancing lesion within the dome of the right hepatic lobe
measuring 1.7 x 1.3 cm (series 6, image 52). No additional hepatic lesions
are identified.. There is no intrahepatic or extrahepatic biliary
dilatation. The hepatic arteries, hepatic and portal veins are patent. The
gallbladder is normal. The adrenals, pancreas, and spleen are unremarkable
without evidence for focal lesion.

The kidneys enhance symmetrically. There is no pelvicaliectasis or
ureterectasis. There are no renal parenchymal lesions.

There are multiple loops of nondilated large and small bowel without
evidence for bowel obstruction or bowel wall thickening. There is no
abnormal mesenteric stranding. There is no mesenteric or retroperitoneal
lymphadenopathy. The urinary bladder is normal. There is no pelvic

There are no suspicious osseous lesions. There is a scoliotic curvature of
the thoracolumbar spine with degenerative changes.. There is a stable
sclerotic lesion in the left pubic ramus. There is a soft tissue density in
in the anterior left thigh measuring 2.5 x 1.4 cm, which is likely
postoperative (series 6, image 125).

1. Hyperenhancing lesion within the dome of the right hepatic lobe, which
is indeterminant. Differential diagnosis includes both benign and malignant
pathology (benign: FNH, adenoma; malignant: metastatic melanoma). Further
is characterization with MRI is recommended.
2. Tiny right lower lobe pulmonary nodule.


We will be taking a print of this with us to ask questions as there are a couple of things mentioned that concern me that the doctors don't seem excited about.  I am going to do a little research into the medical terminology in the report this evening to try to put things in 'layman's terms' to try to understand better, and be able to ask intelligent questions. Hopefully the MRI will bring good news...


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MattF's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 10/9/2014 - 4:26pm

Quick Update

Stage IV in Dec 2013

BRAF Combo MEK and TAF ...Dec 2013 to Jun 2014

Yervoy completed a couple weeks ago.


Latest PET/CT showed some of the tumors have shrunk, some grown and some stable....there are however a few new items that showed up.

Paperwork and Authorization went in today for Keytruda. Which Doctor hopes starts within the next 14 days.

Just as backround....I have a number of tumors on my thighs, pelis etc and have had radiation there.....also 7 Mets in brain and have had SSR to brain in Aug 2014.  I am borderline Anemic.....I also have swelling in feet and ankles over the last 4 weeks...

Thoughts on the plan....


I mean Keytruda is pretty much next right?



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adriana cooper's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/10/2014 - 8:46am
Replies by: ecc26, DZnDef

Not the news I wanted but not really surprised. So far I still have my tumors in my lungs with some growth. Not sure right now if its true growth or if its swelling from the IPI. My lymph nodes in my chest are now involved they have not been before. I will be getting a new scan in two months to recheck my tumor growth. I have nicknamed the lovely tumor on my arm that will not be easily killed off Frankenstein, he has been removed came back then radiated and has come back. I will be taking some time off from any treatment to spend quality time with my family and just for a little while try to forget what is waiting. Will be doing some research on what is the best treatment option for me. I am BRAF positive. Still keeping a positive outlook. With my wonderful boyfriend by my side I will stay positive. Good luck to all


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NancyW's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 10/11/2014 - 8:42am
Replies by: Janner, NancyW, Teochasse, ecc26

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a small, dime sized, barely visible lump on my right shin. Earlier this summer I had a WLE to remove a MM from my right calf, as well as an SLNB on my groin. Fortunately, the margins of the WLE were clear and there was no sign of cancer in my lymph nodes. I was staged at 1B. What I'm wondering is if I should be concerned about the lump on my shin or if I'm just being paranoid? Is it possible that the melanoma  spread to areas other than the lymph nodes and internal organs, despite the fact that there was no sign of spreading after my surgery? My next appointment with the dermatologist isn't until December. Should I get it checked out sooner? I'm not even entirely sure the lump hasn't always been there but I just didn't notice it before.

More background:

Superficial spreading melanoma on right calf

Breslow depth - 1.22mm

Clark level IV

Mitotic rate 3

Chest xrays and abdominal/pelvic ultrasounds showed no signs of cancer.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!


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ecc26's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 10/9/2014 - 6:54pm

or, at least I'll try to be quick- I tend to be rather verbose...

On Monday I travelled to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY for a recheck MRI and surgical follow up. It's been about 3 weeks since my craniotomy for a 3.5 cm metastasis in my right frontal lobe. The original plan when I was discharged was to heal for 3 weeks then come back for gamma knife on a couple of other spots they had seen on the pre-op MRI that were not surgically accessable. Then the pathology came back on the one they removed- all of it was radiation necrosis, no live cells at all. That made me happy- I'm always glad to hear that one of my tumors is dead, but it also meant that they were now questioning whether I really needed another (would be my third) gamma knife, or whether the PD-1 might be getting in there and doing some work.

Under the impression they were going to hold off on the radiation, I was rather surprised when I recieved a phone call saying I had been scheduled for gamma knife. After talking with them, then with the surgeon it was agreed that instead of the radiation I would get an MRI to take a look at things and we'd discuss what things looked like and what the best path would be. 

The MRI happened at about 7:30 am, and the follow up/consult was at 9 am. I am so very very happy to report that the end result of that was that the spots they were concerned about appear less distinct than they did on the pre/post-op MRI so there will be no radiation (for now). Instead we'll re-scan in 6 weeks and see how things look. I'm good with that. I should also note that I was able to resume the now FDA approved PD-1 locally last Friday, so I'm really not even off schedule with that. 

Regarding the surgical site- the cavity is still a bit large, but it is reducing in size and the incision on my scalp looks quite good so everyone is happy.

Best of luck to everyone out there who's fighting their own battles- keep fighting, it's worth it!


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Carole K's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/9/2014 - 1:57pm
Replies by: Carole K, DZnDef

HI Everyone

     I don't know how it happened but my post below posted as ANONYMOUS.  NOt sure how I did that.My aplogies.  

     I am interested to see how many of you use the chat room and if you don't , would you mind sharing why you don't.  I found the chat room a wonderful plaece when i was here  The best way to do chat is to use it continually.  I have been on facebook for five months and yes it'sa wonderful place to go  adn there are several groups there.  The thing I LOVE ABOUT MPIP  is the community spirit we had.  It's stmall enough that you can get to know each others story.  Chat just takes thisngs to another level   You really get to know each other and honestly at times it becomes a place to just vent and yes  LAUGH.  It was a formum for many to come to when they were down  There were several conversations going at once  It resulted in many of us meeting several times in Asheville, Dallas, Michigan and Florida.  IT WAS SUPPORT LIKE NO OTHER.  The one thing about chat is as a group you have to respect when someone new comes to chat and welcoe them. What i usually do is I stop when someone new signs in  I welcome them and ask if they have any questions.  Let them share for a bit and explain what goes on in chat.  You may be having a conversation with two or three people and someone else may just be readng. It's different all the time  Sometimes the HUMOR Iis vry refreshing  I hope all of you try it and just keep going back  I promise you will get to love it  

That being said?  Is anyone up for a chat session?  I will post and e mail to several OLD TIME SURVIVORS TO MEET US HRE  

Just post and let me know .

Sending everyoe big hugs and positive thoughts.. Hang tough !!!! WE CAN DO THIS.. 


Love and Light 

Carole K

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 10/13/2014 - 7:09am
Replies by: Squash, DZnDef, Manfred, Carole K

Hi Everyone

     I was once a regular on this board and I cannot  tell you the amount of support I got here. I was here for about 8 years religiously and then when I became a Grandma I was and still am very busy... now four grandchildren and number 5 on the way.... all 6 and under.  They are the love of my life

     I apologize ot all of you I haven't been here.  I know how hard I held on to the positive stories from other patients. My story is not any different from any of you.  In fact I have probably had an easeir journey in many ways than most.  The uniqueness is I am 13 yeas 9 months NED after lung and brain mets...NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP HOPE.

     I was dx n 1995 StageII from an ulcerated mole on my back.. Misdiagnosed originally--- the derm told me I had an INFECTION....  I went back weeks later --- mole was still blleeding..  He kept vascilating back and forth whould I or shodn't I do a SHAVE biopsy.  MY comment was , if in doubt don't do it...  Then again I was very naive at the time.. NOT ANY MORE...  I got a call the following Monday..  saying You have Malignant Melanoma and it has spread.  Here is the surgeons name.  I wasnt it removed no later than Fri.  and you will start chemo the follwiing week.. good nighr have a good evening. Sure youo  _ _ =_ _ _  _ !  After compossig myself I decidd to go to Sloane Kettering,.  Long story short..  Stage II.  My oncologist, thankfullly took the wait and see approach, seeing him more frequently.  the only treatment at the time was INF.. He was not conviced he liked the treatment esp. because of the side effects,  No treatment  just follow ups Sadly my oncologist went into the private sector shortly after I was dx iwith Lung Mets almost five years later.  I flew to JWCI where lungs mets were confirmed .  Both Sloane Kettering and JWCI wanted to remove my rt. lung.  ( I had lessions in both lungs)  OK if I do that what ifffffffffff   the other lung developed more lessions.  ? 

     I am not sure why but I decided against the surgery.  I stared seeing Dr Raymond Chang, an alternative dr. trained at sloane Kettering..  I saw him for about six months and during tht time took herbs he had given me.  

     At his recommendation I started seeing Dr Abraham Chachoua at NYU Langone Medical Center whos is still my oncologis... He ordered complete body scans and when the results came back--- still with the lung issue, he decided to do a brain scan. I tried to reassue him there was matter up there.  Scan came back positive.. MRI confirmed   BRAIN MET.  I knew I was in trouble.  I opeted for gamma Knife-- the tumor Burst and Bled...  GK no longer an option  I had the tumor surgicaly removed the next morning  

     TREATMENT DECISON TIME  GRRRR.  I had alrady been so involved in the Melanoma community and knew my options.  There was nothing other than IL 2 that would give me the best chance..  

     All of that beig said ---Not sure it was FEAR or FAITH...  I had accepted  the inevitable and had my talk with God the night before surgery.  I said  God it its your will for me to come home, please make it quick.  ( I had just been through a horrible divorce for four years, which the stress is wht i believe bought on my  original dx and two recurrences )  I then said  If it isyour will for me to remain on this planet, I will do all I can to help others on their journey.  Not sure if I am still hee for that reason or God decided I would cause too much havoc so he decided to leave  me here..  One thing I have never done my entiere life is asky why somehting  happened to me.  .  i believe things happen as they are supposed to.  All I have done in the difficult times is ask God to give me the strength to get through it.. He has NEVER LET ME DOWN.. I may not have gotten wht I wanted ut I alwasy got what I needed.

      Before I go any further I want everyone to know.. I AM NOT ANTI CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE at all. I  jsut decided to do alternative medicinee because I wanted QUALITY OF LIFE, NOT QUANTITY.....    

     I went on a pretty strict macrobiotic diet, ( my naturopath-- also had me on a vitamin regiment.  I also decided to do Iscador,  more commonly known as Mistetoe therapy combined with two other herbs.  I did thias for almst two years..Within a few monts thee weent' any mrre lung lessions and I have remained NED since then.  In all these years I have never met anyone else who did Iscador until a few months ago.  A young woman in Maryland combined hers with her INF tratments.  She also is NED but suffers side effects from the INF.  Just as a point of information.. ISCADOR  was prescribed by an MD who practices anthroposphy and other alternative medicines combined with conventional.  

     The one thing I want to lave you with is this

TRUST !!!! YOU !!! will make the DECISION THATA IS RIGHT FOR YOU.. Never ever look back, alwasy look forward with HOPE  AND OPTMISM, BELIEVE IN YOUR HIGHER POWER  and TRUST.  NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP HOPE.

My thoughts and prayaers are with all of you.

Love and Light



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Anonymous's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 10/10/2014 - 2:14pm

My son had 4 infusions of ipilimulab every 3 weeks through a trial -canada. First CT and PET after the treatment phase showed lymph nodes in his neck were again compromised. His initial mole was on his scalp. He had SNE and a second surgery before starting the trial to excise more lymph nodes.

He met today with the surgeon and he said that The last excision biopsy showed that one lymph node had melanoma. He has an appointment with his oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre next week and radiation will be discussed together with how to continue. He is BRAf positive. He is 27 old and overall very healthy. He did not experience too many side effects from IPI but fatigue + night sweats ended.

many wonders in my mind: is he having a slow rsponse to IPI? Should he continue with the maintanance phase of 4 infusions every 12 weeks? We are very hesitant about permanente side effects of radiation? Is having radiation an impediment for having more treatment or trial options? 

Thank you for your input in advance


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hyb222's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/8/2014 - 8:38am
Replies by: Janner, Carole K, hyb222

I had a weird mole on my thigh that changed a little last year after sun exposure and then rapidly changed the last 6 months as I began trail running. I had a shave biopsy that came back as an ASN but couldn't rule out Melanoma. I had  WLE that has come back clear but they STILL cannot tell me what I had...basically...we won't say you had melanoma but we are treating it as if it were. A pat on the back and hearty, "see ya in six months". They never even did a full body basic check. I have a spot that looks perfectly normal (just like the one did a year ago before it was excised) that had sharp pains underneath this weekend. Very similar pains were under my ASN. I guess I just don't have peace with "we got it out...but we aren't sure what 'it' was". If I post my pathology report, does anyone have an interest in seeing if they're familar with the terms?


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Bulldogs81's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/13/2014 - 8:11pm

On 9/16 I had a mole on my forearm. On 9/24 my derm called and said it was melanoma in situ. She said that she sent it to the university of Chicago for a second opinion, who agreed it was in situ. She scheduled me for an appt for a wle the following Monday 9/29. I went, and the surgeon seemed to have taken a big chunk of my arm out. The scar is about 3 inches long and looks like skin is drooping inward.


Anyhow, a nurse from the surgeons office called today with the results. She said that the results came back today from wle and that it looks like they are going to have to a second excision. I was at the grocery store and caught off guard, because I was not expecting bad news and was so shocked that I did not ask a lot of questions. They wanted me to come in this week for second surgery, which is not possible for me so I go next monday. 

I called my derm so she could explain it to me and am waiting for a call back. I am so confused. Does this type of thing normally happen? Or does it mean the original diagnosis of in situ was incorrect? 

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kentuckycat's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 10/8/2014 - 2:08pm



I had a nodular 3.5mm primary melenoma  on leg 18 months ago with a positive lymph node and 1 local in transit met.  I was staged at 3c.  I was then on the ipi vs interferon trial and randomized into the 3mg ipi arm.  I completed ompleted the first 4 doses every 3 weeks and then 4 more doses at 3 month intervals.  This was completed in July.  I just found 3 small subq mets 2 inches from primary site.  A fine needle biopsy was done and positive for melanoma.  Ct scans were just done last week as well and all clean.  My melanoma specialist oncologist wants to do an MRI of brain and full body PET scan just to make sure no further disease.  Assuming all clear he wants to have surgery to remove the 3 mets and then interferon as an adjuvant therapy.  

My doc says I am still stage 3c.  What other options do I have?  Can I leave the mets and do some type of systemic treatment?  Can I surgically remove the mets and then do some type of adjuvant treatment besides interferon?  Any clinical trials available that I should look into?  I have looked into some clinical trials and it seems there is one with anti-pd1 but it requires no previous use of ipi.  However in looking at some of the infromation on this site, it seems others have been stage 3 and gotten some systemic treatment.  Is IL-2 normally available for stage 3c?  Thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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rick1981's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 4:17am

Hi everyone,

It seems like progress on cancer/melanoma treatment is moving at an incredible pace - which is a good thing. When my wife was diagnosed with Stage IV in June, our oncologist referred to Nivolumab as that "wonder medicine" he'd which he'd have access to - and only a couple of months later Pembrolizumab has been approved in the US and Expanded Access has open in Europe and Nivolumab is not far behind.

It's great to have options after the BRAF/MEK inhibitors (or in the future maybe as first line), but it thought it would be good as well to think even further out and look at what medicines may be next up in the Big Pharma's pipeline - so we can discuss this & potential trials with our oncologists.

So therefore this topic :)

(If it already exists, please point me in the right direction and this one can be closed).

The two melanoma medicines that have come to my attention very recently are:

BAVITUXIMAB: "statistically significant tumor growth suppression compared to anti-PD-1 antibody treatment alone in an animal model of melanoma". Trial with Yervoy/Ipi being started.

LIRILUMAB: Trial with Nivo. Ashley here on MPIP has mentioned this trial.

Good to know who's on these trials, what other medicines are being tested - and in the future to keep each other posted on Trial outcomes.

Best regards, Rick






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JustMeInCA's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 10/11/2014 - 7:21pm

My father, who will be 83 in a couple months, is Stage IV with several tumors in the area near his knee, which was the site of his primary tumor. He also has a few small mets in the lungs and possibly (probably) one on the hip bone. He's had two Ipi infusions, the last a week ago and so far without side effects, and will start Keytruda in two weeks.

While he has what he calls "some discomfort" in his knee off and on throughout the day, he is mainly suffering pain at night, which keeps him from falling asleep. (Once he's asleep, though, he sleeps well throughout the night.) For the past few weeks, we tried Aleve, which did nothing, and then a prescription of Norco (5/325), which also did nothing. Last week, his doctor upped the Norco to 7.5/325 and said that he should take it every four hours to prevent, rather than try to stop, the pain.

Dad is not one to take painkillers. He had a sextuple bypass about three years ago and refused any painkillers once he left the hospital. He was resistant to even taking Aleve when the melanoma tumors began to hurt, so I know his leg is really bothering him, given that he's been willing to even try all these pain pills. 

Now, however, since  the higher dose of Norco is not helping with the nighttime pain, he has been prescribed Oxycodone for daytime and Oxycontin before bed. We haven't filled the prescriptions yet, and I'm really wondering if this is the right route to take. Dad doesn't want a stronger painkiller, and we've both noticed that since  he's been on the 24-hour pain regimen, he just kind of zones out in his recliner, where before he was out in the yard and making his little trips to the dollar store. He says he feels dizzy off and on now, and he's definitely a bit cranky.

I'm concerned that the new pills will just make things worse. I've been the one pushing him to take painkillers because I hate to know he's hurting, but now I feel bad because they've really stolen his joys in life. I also worry about the Oxy's because of his age. I feel like maybe I should just let him handle things the way he wants to, even if that means not taking any pain meds. He's more than willing now to take a painkiller before bed, but the way it sounds, this Oxy stuff has to be taken around the clock or not at all. And the nurse also told me that pain taxes the immune system and leads to poorer outcomes.

Any advice or input would be much appreciated. 

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