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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scottr's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 11/16/2015 - 3:34am

Hi All,


I posted back a month ago regarding a new diagnosis of Stage 1 tumour. It was .32 breslow, non brisk TIL, and said the lesion had regression present - over 75% of lesion involved. The tumour was on my mid-back.

About 20 years ago I had a similiar looking mole to the melanoma. It was there for quite a while. Rather dramatically it split in two and then disappeared completely. I took note but did not seek medical attention.

That was kind of stupid because my grandfather died of this illness 10 years earlier. I did not htink mine was melanoma especially after it disappeared..

Anyway yesterday I met with surgical oncologist for what I thought was a consultation. (according to my doctor who said she would be performing WLE and SLNB.) Apperently she decided to do the WLE on this meeting instead. SHe also informed me that she did not think that the SLNB was neccesary.

During our conversation I asked about the extensive regression and she said that this was a good thing. That is the first time I have heard this as every article I have read suggests that over 75% regression was not a good thing.

I have a small lump in my neck, she felt it and said that it does not concern her.

I told her about the mole that disappeared 20 years ago and now there is a smaller but similiar mole in the same place. She biposied this with the WLE.

I can not shake the feeling that somehow stuff is getting missed. I am trying to be ok with everthing but was surprised she was not going to perform a SLNB, particularly with the small lump that was dismissed.

She is the expert but I am left wondering if this disease is being left to potentially progress. I hope not.


By the way... Lots of love to all of you.

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Millykamp's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 11/14/2015 - 5:16pm

Hello everyone Since FDA approve Yervoy for stage 3, I was wondering if anyone had started on it? For the ones that has been on it what is the pro and con of it?? I am stage 3 and about to meet with the melanoma specialist next week to see about treatment plans a since this is all new to me. I have one positive lymph node out of 17. Any kinds of helpful question I should ask would be great.. Thanks


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gregor913's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 11/14/2015 - 2:58am


I just got back my results from the SLNB. My surgeon told me the node came back positive for traces of microscopic cancer cells. He does not know if I should have anymore nodes removed because the disease is only microscopic but did state that I would need further treatment. They only found one sentinol node and he ended up removing another 2 nodes because they were really close to each other. Im only 34 years old and I dont think Im comfortable with that approach and I really would like the rest of the lymph nodes taken from that region under my armpit just in case any other cells are in other lymph nodes. Since my tumor was ulcerated im a stage 3b right now.

Any thoughts would be appreciated since I feel like a boulder was dropped on me.

Thanks Greg

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JoshF's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 11/13/2015 - 7:29pm

Looks like after surgery we'll be moving forward with Opidivo. After speaking with my onc about different options; based on data, side effects etc... this seems to be best option. My concerns were that if this isn't the "magic bullet" for me, I don't want to paint myself in corner from doing any other treatments, specifically the combo therapies out there. I asked why not IPI-Opidivo now and answer was measurable disease and side effects. So questions from current people on this?

Side Effect profile? I was told usually minimal in most cases....

What is plan in terms of duration for treatment schedule? My onc said there is limited data on how long protocol should be administered.

Anyone change their diet? My sister is trying to push me to ketogenic diet? Not familiar with that. I need to eat better in general but diet isn't horrible.

Drug administered every 2 weeks....infusion or port? I saw a post on that so I'll go into that to see what everyone is saying.

Any other advice....suggestions? Changes to normal life other than going to get an infusion every 2 weeks?  I'm not ashamed to say I'm afraid...maybe I shouldn't have thought I was over the hump.... this is some life we all live but it beats alternative at this point!

All the best!!!


Let's work for better treatments....for a cure!!!!

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chrisholder's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 11/13/2015 - 4:02pm

Hi, all,

I posted about a week ago for the first time, wondering if there were people reading who have mucosal melanoma.  Mine is in the maxillary sinus & was diagnosed in May of this year; started Ipi/Nivo soon after but had to stop after only two infusions due to severe side effects and hospitalization.   Am now on Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) & so far tolerating it.  Would be very eager to hear of others who have MM, what your treatment is, how it's going, how you are managing the side effects, etc.  Unfortunately it's only 1% of all melanomas and so there's far less statistical history and information tha for the other 99%!

I read this and several other patient-based cancer sites/blogs regularly and am contnually moved and uplifted by so many patients' courage, determination and - in the face of this awful disease - humor.  I pray for everyone's peace, comfort and improvement.     Chris

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brownidgirl1's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 11/12/2015 - 3:09pm

Hello, I just signed up on this site today because I am having a slight complication from surgery to remove 2 lymph nodes from my left groin. I have read the stories shared on this site and my prayers go out to each and every one of you!! I have questions but am having difficulty getting answers or results from my doctor and wanted to see if anyone here had any simiar experiences or advice.

After the removal of the lymph nodes I did not have any drains put in. I have had to go to the surgeon twice now to have him drain the site with a syringe. The site keeps swelling and filling with fluid and there is nowhere for the fluid to go. On my last visit I believe he used a lightly larger needle to drain the fluid so it is draining itself a little at a time but it is still swollen. My fear is that I will end up with an infection or that I will end up in the doctor's office every few days to continue to have this drained.

Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? I would appreciate it greatly!! Again, my prayers go out to everyone who is facing this battle!

Thank you,


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jenny22's picture
Replies 14
Last reply 11/12/2015 - 9:21am

Hi All- After recent 2nd recurrence (last week), just had surgery today at MSK....very early today....home now.

Since this is 2nd recurrence docs (both surgeon, COIT at MSK and ONC Pavlick at NYU) are recommending a course of radiation in the hopes of preventing more local recurrences....

After surgery today, Dr. Coit told my husband it is as much an art as a science to get it right.....size of radiation field among other things.  In my case its more tricky since its on the NECK.

So my question is, wonder if i need RAD ONC whose specialty is Melanoma or Head/Neck....I know my docs will weigh in, but wondered if anyone here had any thoughts on this subect.

After Radiation of course trying to find/decide on adjuvant systemic treatment......

Must say, this is a little scary these days....

Any thoughts appreciated.


Best to all,



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davekarrie's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/12/2015 - 7:34am
Replies by: davekarrie, paul, Bubbles

Hello all,

I was on a clinical trial with Keytruda and IDO inhibitor, but my lung mets are growing close to my heart and other lymph node masses bigger in chest, in addition to one on left adrenal gland and kidney giving me pain at times. Was rushed to ER on Sunday with so much pain. Anyway, I know the Taf/Mek combo usually works for BRAF but is limited to around 9 months or so. I am wondering for those that have done Taf/Mek how you are doing, are you NED, course of treatment etc.?  I just want to get ducks in a row if this fails and we have to shift gears again.  My oncologist said once tumors shrink with combo we weill come back in with another PD1 before the combo stops working.  Much love to you all and thanks for any help! Dave

Live life to the fullest and enjoy each day! #noonefightsalone

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Bobman's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 11/11/2015 - 4:03pm
Replies by: stars, Bobman, Janner

I am  now up to 6 primaries. Besides  that, I am producing  more lesions  at an incredible  rate lately . Depending  who I  see,the opinion  varies  on  what is the best biopsy  method . My surgeon  prefers punch,while most of the dermatologists have performed  shave. I know most of what I've  read here suggest  punch. One thing I don't  fully understand , is if on a large lesion  I get the punch,could the area punched be ok,while the other part of it be malignant ? 

Thanks  in advance  for any help,

Aloha , Bob

We are one.

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Hello. I am here to the online community. Looking for some guidance from others who have been or are going through this.

First, some melanoma history:

1.  My father died of metasized melanoma at age 70. He had a mole on his back and it changed and he didn't get it checked in time.

2. This January, at age 58, I had a superfical spreading melanoma removed from my right shoulder. It was a nonpigmented lesion that I think had been there three, maybe four at the most, months. I actually thought I'd scraped my shoulder; it sort of faded and returned. I missed my regular yearly skin checkup due to other family members' health issues so I kick myself. But I was lucky. It had no depth, no ulceration. Was melanoma in situ. I had the followup surgery after the biospy and they got it all. Note: When I went to the dermatologist, the PA said that he just thought it was a basel cell and only twice had he seen a melanoma in 10 years. Go figure right.

So - to followup I get my skin checked every three months. And in between, because I'm now perhaps overly cautious, I go in if I see anything else. (A note here - it's often two weeks to get in and it's always two weeks to get my biospy results - Does that seem like a long time? )

3. Since January, I've had several moles removed and they came back fine.

4. Since January, I've had three definite and one possible actinic keratosis frozen off my left eyebrow. Precancerous, the PA said. No issues.

And now for the issue and the real reason for my posting.

5. On Oct. 27, I had my regular three month skin check. All was well. This was when my PA - who I think is pro active and always listens to me - froze two of the Actinic Keratosises. While I was there, I asked her to remove two moles on my stomach. She did. One was small and it came back fine. The other one came back with "severe atypical cells." I go in for more surgery Nov. 24, although I'm hoping to get that moved up but don't think the schedule will allow.

Here's the issue:" THERE WERE NO CLINICAL SIGNS on this mole - and yet it comes back with "SEVERE atypical cells." In fact, four different medical personnel in this practice have looked at this mole, sometimes as regular checkups and other times at my questioning, and NEVER saw any reason to remove it.

SO here are my questions and if anyone can answer any or all of them I would be most grateful.

1. Going forward, what do I do about moles on my skin? How can I be sure that there's not another one of these "nothing looks bad but it's bad inside" moles? Do I insist on EVERY mole that's bigger than a certain side or isn't completely round or I just don't like be taken off? I'm ready to do that! That frankly is my major worry - if you are supposed to get checked and watch for evolution or changes but there aren't any and it's still severe atypical cells, is there any way to be MORE pro active?

2. And now I have questions about what I've been told by the nurse and the PA regarding this severe atypical celled mole. First the nurse said it "is not cancer" and then said "it's pre cancerous." Then she said that it was sort of like the actinic keatosis. Then she said that they're take a bigger chunk of tissue and send it off "to see if there are any more cells" and then she said "to test to see if it's melanoma." And I said Wait, you just said it's not cancer! And she sort of backpeddled and said, "well that would be rare.

3. Now to the information from the PA (my regular PA isn't in the office this week so I talked to another one) He said that "you have nothing to worry about." And that "you never know if these things will be turn to cancer or not." And he dismissed my question about why no one thought on exam to remove this mole and it's got severe atypical cells. And then he said that really concerned me "You know there's a fine line between severe atypcal moles and melanoma in situ. Some pathologists would say it's one, some the other. It's like a political debate." And then on my questioning, said oh, no it will be fine.

4. The PA also said there were "just a few severe atypical cells at the edge" and not deep into the sample.

So there are my questions/concerns. I would appreciate any direction.

Also, the entire year has stressed me out. I spend lots of long nights looking at every spot on my skin, trying to catch the cancer before it gets me. It's totally destroyed my emotional balance and I feel like I've got nobody to talk to. So again thanks for any help/advice/suggestions




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Boo79's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/11/2015 - 1:24am

I posted on here over the summer regarding a couple of moles I had to have removed. They didn't look weird to me at the time. They weren't symmetrical, but they hadn't changed either. One came back severely atypical and the other moderate to severe. I had a third one removed later which came back moderately atypical. The first two didn't have clear margins so I went back and got clear margins. Janner was wonderful with her response of watching from now on. In the meantime, I was getting really sick...ended up not being mole related. I had tick illnesses. But while trying to determine what was wrong, they did ct scan and MRI of abdomen. They came back with multiple lesions on liver. The radiologist said the large ones were hemangiomas but small ones were probably cysts. I am just concerned that maybe they missed something and it could be more than that. 

Now back to the mole removal. One of the incisions was near another mile and when I was stitched up, the other mole was stitched into it. This mole seems to be slowly making its way across my scar now. Just a tiny bit. It has been three months since stitches were removed, and in the last couple of weeks, the scar is itching like crazy. 

Should I be concerned or am I over thinking all of this???

one more long does a full body mole check normally take? The derm looked over my body in less than one minute. Never had me stand up. I have one abnormal looking mole on the palm of my hand and she didn't remove because she said it would be uncomfortable for me???

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casagrayson's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 11/10/2015 - 10:52pm

My husband is a Stage 1 melanoma patient.  He has had two primaries, both on his head.  For the last six months, he has had a bad cough.  He finally went for an upper GI because his GP thought it might be reflux. The test showed nothing abnormal.  The GP then sent him for a chest CT.  We got a call from the GP's office that said "everything is normal".  I asked for a copy of the radiologist report, and here is the part that concerns me:

"There are two tiny peripheral sub pleural nodules measuring approximately 2mm, one in the right upper lobe and one in the left upper lobe. The post-contrast images show no evidence of abnormal enhancement.  

Opinion:  No significant abnormality.  No acute disease."

My question is, should I be concerned?  Should we press the doctor for some other test, or should I ask for a second opinion from another radiologist?  Are these nodules so small that there's no chance they are metastatis?  I don't want to be an alarmist, but he hasn't felt well for a while and is so very tired of the coughing and fatigue.  


Strength and Courage,


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 0

An unusual mole popped began itching and burning on my calf a while back.  A biopsy was taken two weeks ago and the diagnosis came back stage 1B.  I just regestired on the site and feel lucky to have found the community.  I appreciate what I have learned so far just from reading the posts and hope to stay informed and in charge of my treatment.

Thanks all!

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 11/10/2015 - 2:51pm

Hi all!!

I've been reading some posts related to the diet that one should take to fight somehow melanoma. Some people say it is better based on alkaline foods and others in an acidic diet.
My sister has been doing a varied diet, with fruits and green vegetables and she has tried to limit some refined foods and sugar, and tries to eat many nuts. She is also taking supplements like curcumin, ip6 inositol and purple mushroom, and green tea.
I wonder if there is any scientific study based on which diet one should follow, some people say that melanoma grows in an alkaline environment and others in an acid environment. Which one is better alkaline or acid?
What diet / supplements should be follow? Any advice is welcome !!!

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Hi all,

The FDA just approved Cotellic (cobimetinib) to be used in combination with Zelboraf (vemurafenib) to treat advanced melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body or can’t be removed by surgery, and that has a certain type of abnormal gene (BRAF V600E or V600K mutation). Data showed that patients treated with the combination experienced a median of 12.25 months with no tumor progression, compared to 7.2 months for patients on vemurafenib alone. This approval means melanoma patients with this specific gene have another treatment option to fight their cancer!

Read the MRF's statement here.


- Lauren, MRF

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