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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RJoeyB's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 11/19/2014 - 3:37am
Replies by: rick1981, Patina

I saw this article about ipilimumab on Medscape the other day and found some of the commentary, especially that from Dr. O'Day, interesting:

including the "long tail" durable responses, the management of toxicity with steroids, and the correlation between toxicity and efficacy...  all stuff that's been discussed here previously, but still interesting to read.

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chowmene's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 11/18/2014 - 2:17am

should i consider getting a blood test. my breslow lvl was 0.40 mm, clark lvl 2?

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Frank Two's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 11/19/2014 - 1:22am

My husband started Taf/Mek combo six weeks ago. He had no side effects for the first four weeks. For the past 10-14 days fatigue set in. He can no longer walk upstairs. We've been to the oncologist twice in as many days.  The Dr ordered blood work on Tuesday and everything was normal. She also did a simple muscle test during his visit and said his muscles were fine. That was this past Tuesday. On Thursday he had fever and chills and I called the oncology RN ( Kaiser) to get a message to his onco and advise of what to do. I finally got a call from the Oncology Pharmacist and was told fever and chills are common on the combo and give him Tylenol. At that time I was told that fatigue is also a common side effect and he should take Percocet if he can't climb stairs. Ten minutes after that call the oncologist RN called to let me know that if any other questions arise I should first call his primary care physician. WHAT?  My husband's quality of life has gone downhill quickly. I'm new to all of this and I'm very confused, my husband is upset and I think it's wrong. I would think the oncologist should oversee his health and order further tests at this point. Is this normal?  I would appreciate any input. 

We can do this!  Take time to laugh!

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StephyD83's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 7:14pm
Replies by: StephyD83, Janner

Hi Everyone--

I was Dx with Melanoma In Situ in March 2014 & since have been dealing with enlarged lymp nides etc. In Augest 2014 I had a shave biopsy of a mole on my lower back that I had a long time but became raised suddenly. It came back as begin compound nevus with congenital features. About 1 month later a black dot appreaed in the center of the scar now it is about 1/4 of the way back covering the scar & is very black & itches really bad. It was a large mole 1.6 x. 9 x.1. Should I be concerned?



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jennifer83's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 7:09pm

I got my pathology report and would love it if anyone can help me determine anything from it regarding staging or advice, etc...



A) Skin, Right mid back (shave)

Malignant Melanoma, Superficial Spreading Type, Clark's Level III-IV, Depth of Invastion 0.70 MM, extending to peripheral margin (does this just mean they didn't get it all?)

Synoptic Report:

Specimen: Laterally: Right

Tumor Size: Grossly Indeterminate

Macroscopic Satelite Nodule(s): Interteminate

Histologic Type: Superficial spreading

Maximum Tumor Thickness: 0.70 MM

Ulceration: Not identified

Margins: Involved by tumor

Mitotic Index: 1 per MM squared

Microsatellitosis: Indeterminate

Lymph-Vacualr Invastion: Not identified

Comment: Key poritions of this care were reviewed by one or more additional dermatopathologists

Gross Discription:  Specimen labeld s "R mid back" is recieved in formalin and identified with two patient identifiers.  The specimen consists of a single portion(s) of  ___ skin (I can't identify the word before skin), measuring 0.7 x 0.5 x 0.1cm.  The skin is almost entirely surfaced by a 0.5 x 0.5 cm brown lesion.  The margin is inked.  The speciman is trisected and entirely submitted in one cassette(s) (NC).


Any comments on this would be great!  I'm headed to a general surgeon on Monday to consult on a WLE and SLN biopsy.  



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arthurjedi007's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 11/18/2014 - 6:00am

I think I eat a lot but for the past couple months I lose about a pound every 4 or 5 days. It's starting to add up. I'm on Keytruda, Xgeva and just started taking oxycodone for my leg and hip pain. Before the disease I was 172. Just a couple months ago I was 167. But now I'm 159.

This is what I typically eat in a day:

breakfast - scrambled egg with green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers. onions, mushrooms, ham, tomato, garlic, tumeric in it.  glass of almond milk. glass of orange juice.

morning snack - bananna and juice like kale blazer

dinner - 2 chicken breasts in cream of mushroom sauce, slice of 12 grain bread, sweet potatoes, green beans, juice like daily greens

afternoon snack - bananna, walnuts and brazil nuts, juice like green machine

supper - large pork chop, baked potato, salad, decaf green tea

evening snack - apple, bowl of post shredded wheat and bran with almond milk

2 to 3 bottles of water throughout the day


That's just what I had yesterday and it changes to sometimes steak and other stuff but pretty much similar.

I'm not very active especially since my knee and hip hurting prevents me from walking much.


I just can't figure out why I'm still losing weight. Any ideas?




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jennifer83's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 9:14am
Replies by: Tim--MRF, Emcjones1

I just found out two days ago that a mole on my back came back as melanoma.  My derm had done a shave biopsy and said it came back .7 mm with a Clark's Level III or IV.  I'm confused on whether I should be very concerned, or if this seems to be a superficial case.  My general practioner told me that she saw the pathology report and that it said it was superficial and has not spread to the lymph nodes or vascular system.  I asked my derm if it's possible to determine that with only a shave biopsy?  He said no.  I'm so confused!  

I go in on Monday to consult with a general surgeon who will be removing more tissue.  I'd love to hear what anyone has to say about this initial diagnosis.  I've been following this site since I heard the news and you all are so well versed and supportive.  




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csellers23's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 9:52am

My husband 39 has cancer in his bones 3 one spine one on hip one on ribs. Also 7 in his lungs and 2 the size of grapes and 7 the size if bbs in his brain. We have done full brain radiation and the tafinlar/mek pills. The pills shrank some others stayed the same and 3 got bigger. After 4 weeks they took him off them and onto yervoy. He was put in ER for high fever 103 that wouldnt break. After being put on steroids we got his fever down. That was after his first treatment. Is there anyone out there who has been through this for along time or even became ned? We have 3 kids and one will be here next month. Anyone plz. Thank you.

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kalisama's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 7:02am

I am so frustrated at this point. I feel as though my onc is fighting me on my treatment plan and that we are working against each other instead of in tandum, with each other.

I live in a rural area, 8 hours round trip to see my oncologist, plus hotel stays, etc etc.

I feel that I am being forced in to a 3rd Yervoy treatment despite display of primarily skin related side effects. As some of you know, I've been trying to get to Keytruda since its approval. I'm aware some of this is FDA and some of this is my onc's near religious belief in Yervoy.

I've also been trying to get a referral to a neurologist from him as disease leans towards brain and CNS, LMD, with an occasional rogue muscle or breast met . I have very little confidence in his ability to treat CNS diseases, while this is a huge part of my treatment, I just don't think he's up on this. One month ago he said he would put this referral in motion. Now he's telling me it will be at least 3 months.

I see him this Tuesday. I'm at a loss, and am scheduled for Yervoy infusion that I don't want. I will finally be getting images on Monday, so I will be going in to Tuesday's appointment with more information than I've had in quite a while.

Is there a question in here? yes, any advice on how to approach your primary onc when you don't feel like they are on your side? have you ever fired a primary physician? he works very intimately with my radiation oncologist who i adore, and am nervous about jeopardizing that relationship. If I didn't live so far from this level of medical support, it would probably be a lot easier for me to move on. This onc has been treating me since April 2013 when I was admitted to ICU with golfball size tumors in my brain.

Any insights or personal experiences, appreciated as always.


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jualonso's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 11/14/2014 - 1:21am
Replies by: Ginger8888

Hi folks,

Im now on Ipi treatment and i would like to start with Cbd oil but first i want to know if someone has do it with no bad reaction.


Thanks all

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democat's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/15/2014 - 11:28pm

Does anyone have experience with Kaiser So. Cal.? Specifically Drs. Sherry Hsu and Helen Moon?  Also, has anyone been able to get Kaiser to pay for a second opinion outside of Kaiser>




Stage IIIa/IIIb

since 1/2013

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arthurjedi007's picture
Replies 27
Last reply 11/17/2014 - 12:40am

Just got a call from my nurse a little while ago. The bad report I got last week was comparing the 11/3 scan to the 4/23 scan which I knew that's what they did. But they got my 8/13 scan from Mayo now and compared it.

Basically no new stuff and "only mild growth". Awesome :)

The main growth they are concerned about is the left scapula shoulder tumor which is already huge just not as much growth as they thought. Might do radiation or surgery in the future but not right now.

I was too dumbfounded to ask but I assume with a pretty good report like that I'll save TIL until some future date. I guess I'll still try to make the Chicago trip just to see what they say but not sure with my knee acting like it is.

What a relief. Not as good a report as some but it means Keytruda is kicking this stupid disease a lot better than they thought.

Thanks everyone.


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jualonso's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 11/13/2014 - 8:39am
Replies by: mary1233
adriana cooper's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 11/17/2014 - 12:29pm
Replies by: RJoeyB, adriana cooper, Tim--MRF, Anonymous, Bubbles

Post Ipi scan last month demonstrated some growth in existing areas of lungs and arm as well as some new ones not previously noted. Over the last 4-5 weeks Adriana has felt things are still advancing, Dr. agrees and has scheduled new scans in the next week or so with the plan to start Zelboraf for a few weeks then on to Keytruda ASAP although he is asking the insurance to go straight to Keytruda and skip the Zel. He wants to hold back Taf/Mek to be used later if tumors get out of hand. Some comments on this plan are welcome. My question (if some one could address) is can Taf/Mek be used after Zel? The info here in the MRF website suggests no on the targeted therapy section of the melanoma treatment page. Or should she start with Taf/Mek and then can she go back to it at a later time if needed again. I know there was some previous discussion of going back on but I can't seem to find it.

Not trying to second guess Dr. But he seems to think it's possible to skip the BRAF at this time but our research has only indicated that is not possible at this time.


Rob- Adriana's boyfriend


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Happy_girl's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 11/13/2014 - 7:58am

Hello my melanoma warrior friends!  I just needed to post my feelings.  I don't know if my anxiety levels are so high because of melanoma and work and just life in general, but recently when I feel my clnd scar ( umm... I try not to feel my armpit all the time in public- work in progress), I get paranoid and afraid.  This might seem dumb but how do u tell the difference betweem scar tissue and swollen lumph nodes?  I'm sure I just need to relax, but I feel like right now seems like constant fear.  Thanks for your help and thoughts.  I value what you all have to say! :)

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