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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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/20/2014 - 9:23am
Replies by: ncdaniel, kpcollins31, melissa ann, Anonymous

My husband had a melanoma mole removed over ten years ago before we even met,  and was fine ever since.  Last year he noticed a lump under his arm, had a ultrasound done and was told it looked benign. Now 7 months later, at the insistance of his dermatologist, he had it looked at again and asked for a biopsy.  They just told him today it is melanoma.  I am in shock.  we don't even know what stage yet, but since it was something he could feel and has been around since last year, that makes us feel worse about prognosis.  It would help if I heard from others who had been through somthing similar and had a positive outcome?  So sad today.

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JessV's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 4/20/2014 - 12:29am
Replies by: Marianne quinn



I am hoping some of you might have experience in what I am going through as I feel really alone. I just turned 26 a couple weeks ago, and have had the fear of my Melanoma coming back for a 2 years now. I was diagnosed with Superifical Spreading Melanoma on my left side of my stomach in 2012 Stage 1B with a mitotic rate of 2. I had the usual procedure to remove quite a bit of extra tissue around it, and from that moment on I've been worried.

In November of last year (2013) I noticed a small lump (about 1 and a half cm) on the left side of my spine basically just above my shoulder on my back. I was told it was most likely a cyst, but I chose to get it off anyways. I have no other cancerous symptoms, and from what i could feel, it did not change in the last 5 months I felt it. I got it removed 8 days ago, and my doctor called me yesterday and told me that the pathologist was sending it off for a second opinion. Is this normal? Is it a bad thing they need a second opinion? My first Melanoma results came back in 3 days, and they were incredibly fast! I am hoping this is a good thing. Originally my surgeon who removed the lump last week thought it was a Lymph node, and the only thing I've been told by my doctor now is it is not a lymph node. She says it is something in the soft tissue. Could this be a cyst? How likely has my melanoma spread so far to the top of my back without showing in any lymph nodes? I had a CT scan as well before the lump was removed and everything was clear. PLEASE help if you have had any experience with this, you will seriously make my day!

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Leslie'sHusband's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 10:51pm

Les' surgery went well on Tuesday.  She had the clinical trial minimally invasive (laproscopic) complete lymph node dissection of her left groin.  Only three 1 inch long incisions in her thigh, one of which has the drain in it now.  There are definitely some divots in her thigh/groin area showing where they removed tissue below the skin.  Other than some nausea/vomiting from the anesthesia she had done very well.  We made the drive home from Duke on Wednesday afternoon, and she's getting around very well.  Now we begin another wait on the patology report on the removed lymph nodes.  We're due back at Duke with Dr.Tyler on the 28th to discuss the pathology, and possibly treatments.  I'm hoping that these removed nodes are clear.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 10:42pm
Replies by: BrianP, DZnDef

I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried any alternative treatments(ie, natural/nutrition)? I've been reading about Dr. Gonzalez in NYC.  There are 3 melanoma case studies on his website.  Very interesting.  

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Ajones1123's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 8:44pm
Replies by: Ajones1123, Janner

Hi all,

My mother is going in for a wider excision on Monday for an atypical mole she had removed.  I know there is a TON of knowledge on this board and many of you are extremely educated when it comes to how to interpret pathology, etc.  I just want to know if anything looks extremely alarming on her path report and if conservative excision is appropriate.  The report is as follows:

Diagnosis: Compound Nevus with moderate to focally severe atypia

Microscopic description:

Left Calf: Sections show a proliferation of somewhat spindled melanocytes that are arranged in nests and as single units with a confluent pattern of growth mostly within the lower portion of the epidermis. Nested melanocytes are irregularly distributed in the lower portion of the epidermis, and nests bridge between adjacent rete ridges in areas.  The melanocytes display moderate cytologic atypia, including variation in nuclear enlargement and staining intensity, mostly at the dermoepidermal junction.  The superficial dermis shows nests and strands of similar appearing melanocytes. Additional dermal changes include fibroplasia, variable mononuclear cell inflammation, and scattered melanophages.  Scattered melanocytes also demonstrate variable degrees of cytoplasmic pigmentation. The immunostain for Melan-A shows a brisk junctional proliferation of atypical melanocytes with confluent growth pattern accompanied by a subtle limited pagetoid scatter above the dermoepidermal junction. It also highlights nevomelanocytes in the dermis.  These findings represent a compound nevus with moderate to focally severe architectural and moderate cytological atypia. 

Comment: while the specimen margins are free in the planes of sections examined, the distance to the peripheral edge is only about a millimeter, and conservative re-excision is recommended to ensure complete lesion removal if clinically warranted.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has any input on the report.  Is this just basically an atypical nevus (closer to the moderate end of the spectrum)?  Is conservative re-excision appropriate?  Thanks again!




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lisamariehenry's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 3:32pm
Replies by: lisamariehenry, Anonymous, patobs01, bj63, Fen

What should I do to prepare for this?  I know I have to take 650 mg Tylenol and 50 mg Benadryl 30 minutes to 1 hour before.  My appointment is for 2:30 p.m.  Should I eat lunch before?  Any info at this point would be greatly appreciated.

thank You!

Lisa Henry

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secondhalf's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 2:21pm
Replies by: secondhalf, SoCalDave

We are  in the early stages of planning Round 2 with Metastatic Melanoma Stage 3.  One option for treating the is isolated limb perfusion chemotherapy at Georgetown.  We turn to those of you that have blazed this trail - what are you thoughts on this treatment?  

We are still waiting to see if this tumor is BRAF negative like the first one that was found in the axilla.  The 'new' tumor is in that same side and it grew quickly.

We also have our Johns. Hopkins visit scheduled.

Thanks in advance!

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Replies by: POW, Beccy2907

My mother is currently going through one of the toughest situations of her life. As her daughter, I truly don't know how to vent or show how scared I am about her diagnosis today. Today after 4 weeks of visiting specialists and getting referred from hospital to hospital, it has come to the conclusion she has Choroidal Melanoma. It all started about a month ago when she started to complain of flashes of light, black spots and floating objects from her right eye. She said she had immense pressure on her right side of her head and her headaches and migraines were getting worse. Ever since I was a child, my mom has suffered from migraines, but doctors never said anything about them. When she went into her primary 4 weeks ago about her vision and headaches, her primary measured her intraocular pressure and said it was high. He referred her to a basic ophthalmologist , (which took her insurance 2 weeks to approve) and he was the one who determined there was retinal detachment and a "mass" pushing on the retina. Once again she was referred, to another specialist, now this doctor I completely have the highest respect for, he was thorough, he has been wonderful and supportive, he was the one who did the B-scan, ultrasound, determining the tumor was inside the eye, thus ocular tumor, when I saw the ultrasound, my heart started to race, the tumor not only takes over half of her eye, but about 3/4 of her eye. As I write this I find myself tearing up, I am truly scared, I just found out about this today. I dont live with my mom, and my moms English is very limited, I feel like she is just so unaware of what is truly going on, and I dont want to show how much anxiety and how scared I truly I am for her. This doctor does not specialize in intraocular tumors, so we have now been referred to another specialist, but now we must wait until insurance approves, and it is a waiting game. They still need to do an MRI and blood work they said to see if she doesnt have tumors in other places or if it has spread. I am really scared, my mom is my best friend and this is just not easy for me to take in.

Elizabeth G.

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hannahcopeland1's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 10:21am

Hello to anyone that is interested,

I am Starting a PD-1 trial on April 28th at Sarah Cannon in Nashville. It will be a much longer commute than I'm used to bc I am from Atlanta and have been basically able to walk to Emory to see my doctors for the past 2.5 years. A bit nervous about the stress that comes along with that . But eager to start the trial. I've got a pretty debilitating cough from the 2 tumors in my lung. I'm just hoping this version of PD-1 called AMP-514 works as well as Merck's. They have been doing the study at lower doses so far and I will be joining for the highest dose of the study, so I guess that's a good thing.

The only treatments I've done so far have been braf (first zel and then the mek/braf combo) until it stopped working last month. So This will be my first dive into immunotherapy treatment. And I'm nervous! I want it to work so badly! I'm getting married in August!

I guess I don't know what I'm posting about in terms of questions, other than if anyone has experienced this AMP-514. Maybe some encouraging words or advice for this 27 year old new commuting immunotherapy patient. I know many of you have a lot of experience and are very seasoned at dealing with these things. I'm trying to decide if I should try to hang onto my job throughout this trial etc

oh also, does anyone have advice for what to take along with codeine cough syrup so I can sleep? It does wonders for my cough, but keeps me up all night.


thanks for reading.

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Kate_perth's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 4/19/2014 - 4:22am
Replies by: Kate_perth, Lisa - Aust, washoegal, Anonymous, laura b

Just wanted to share this:-

When I was first diagnosed in 2012, I tested braf negative. It seems to be generally acknowledged that if you are braf negative, you always will be so you're not usually tested again. However, in 2013 I had a small metastases to my left breast and went to a breast specialist at a different hospital for surgery. As this was my first tumour with her (and very luckily for me), she tested me again for braf and the test came back braf positive. I am now responding very well to the braf/mek combo!

After speaking to a few research nurses, they have said that this seems to have happened to a number of their patients, though no one seems to know whether the tests are a little unreliable or the melanoma can mutate into braf positive with time.

My advice is ask to be tested regularly for braf... I can't even believe how lucky I was... If it wasn't for that small bit of luck, I would very likely not be alive - and now I have my best prognosis since diagnosis!

Take control, look after yourself and never ever give up hope!


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tcell's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 4/18/2014 - 6:02pm
Replies by: BrianP, tcell, Mat, pigs_sty
Anonymous's picture
Replies 0

For east coast there's now some listing.  On MIF's


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Shaggy 's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/18/2014 - 11:37am

Lets see how many of my old mates are still out there.Ive not been on here for about 2 years.SHAGGY...the Fireighter from England for thos of you that remember me.


Diagnosed with stage 3 MM in July 1995..nearly 19 years on facebook as well if you want to add me.Ian Mutch and my pic is me stood near my fire truck

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5374brian's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 4/18/2014 - 7:59am

It has been several months since i was last looking over the boards and posting comments. We were scheduled to start a PD1 trial July 11 but that had to be canceled due to Keri getting DVT in left leg at 1 am that morning. Since then she has had surgery for the DVT against several doctors suggestions, After the surgery she did have a rough time and we went into hospoice care. Hospice worked with us on pain management for a few weeks and we thought she was climbing back up the hill. A few weeks later she was having sever pain attacks in the abdomen area. We went back into hospice for 10 days and on the 8th day she woke up feeling fine with no pain and a appetite. We have been back home since working on eating little meals each day and keeping pain under control. Her pain now is controled by a PCA pump. Today was a big day for us. Keri came out of Hospice care for a 3 rd time since her diagnosed Stage 4 in Dec 2012 and will be returning to Moffitt Sept 26 to get scans, tests, and a plan of treatment. She has been a miracle to all of us. She said 1 week again if i am going i want to go fighting. She is not 100% but she has been through 3 surgeries and told she wouldnt make it several times. I say all this to everyone so you can know not to every give up. She has been determined since the beginning to fight and now we are back again. I feel so blessed to have her in my life and cant wait for the doctors plans on Thursday. 

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Marianne quinn's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/17/2014 - 11:18pm

My husband was in the 10 mg. Ipi arm of the ipe vs. interferon trial. He did very well with the induction phase- being careful with his diet and a rash that is pretty easily controlled with Benadryl and lotion. He was 3C.

2 weeks after the induction phase, a CAT scan was done, then a PET.. It showed a 2 cm. nodule in the liver by his diaphgram.  We were devastated. A biopsy was done ( with difficulty) and it was positive.

Stereostatic radiation or ablation was offered. A very confusing story, but  another CAT scan for placement for stereosstatic radiation was done  2 weeks  later. and all the radiologist said was "very small, a blush. We elected to go with ablation for a variety of reasons. We are wanting another CAT scan before surgery as the radiation oncologist could not give us a dimension on the lesion. I don't know why as the lesion on the CAT scan and the biopsy done with CAT scan was very easily seen. This is upsetting.

My question is - has this happened to anyone? The oncologist says the ipi is obviously not working due to him being NED prior to entering the study .( December 31, 2013) I am not sure that is correct. We are seeomg  a general oncologist who we like very much but who admits she has little experience with ipi. I know that ipi can have a delayed reaction and can make a scan look horrible at first. The main concern seems ti be that he was NED prior to the study. He has been removed from the study.

If this lesion has disappeared, he wants to get back in the study. Is that possible?

Has anyone out there had good results with ablation?

Has anyone gone from NED to Stage 4 while on ipi? What happened to you?

I was so worried about the 10 mg ipi side effects etc. It never crossed my mind that a lesion would show up right after he reached therapeutic levels . This sucks.

Any info will be greatly appreciated. We will probably ask for a consult with a melanoma specialist after the surgery. We would have asked for one earlier, but things were going so well there did not seem to be a need.


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