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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DZnDef's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 1/28/2016 - 7:49pm
Replies by: DZnDef, WithinMySkin, BrianP, Anonymous

Hi everyone,

I took an MPIP "holiday" over the Holidays and pretended I didn't have cancer for a while.  It was nice to just enjoy living life for a bit.  I started lurking again earlier this month but decided today I should finally post again.

Today is the 2-year anniversary of my recurrence.  After being NED from surgery in 2012, a chest X-Ray on today's date in 2014 revealed new spots in my lungs.  I thought I was a goner in a few months.  I never expected to be around in 2 years still feeling "healthy".  So I thought that was worth celebrating.

As for the update, some of you may recall that I made the wacky decision to pursue alternative treatment first which I started in March of last year.  This was after January 2015 scans showed both growth and a new met (after several mostly stable scans).  In December 2015 I decided to have scans again after an 11-month interval.  I was really hoping the scans would be definitive (either definitely working or definitely not) so my next steps would be obvious.  Unfortunately, as is so often the case with this disease, the results are not so cut and dry.

The good news:  No new mets!  (Yay!)

The bad news:  All mets are larger.  (Boo.)

My conventional doc (the pulmonologist in this case) wanted me to start conventional treatment right away.  My NY doc (the alternative one) was not concerned with the results as she claims the growth is likely inflammation not true growth and to focus on the news that there were no new mets over an 11 month period.

Additional odd tidbit:  They only mentioned one met in my right lung where previously they always mentioned two (one of which was always stable at 3mm).  They didn't say it went away or is no longer visualized.  They just didn't mention it at all.  Maybe it fell between the slices this time and is still there.  At least it didn't get any bigger or it would definitely have been mentioned.

Which is all to say I can't be sure this treatment is working and I can't be sure it isn't.  I'll just keep at it for now and continue to reserve my right to change my mind at any moment.

I appreciate so much everyone sharing their stories on this site.  I'm constantly re-evaluating what my next steps might be based on the valuable information you all share.  I am such a coward when it comes to drugs. I hope I can muster the courage to jump in if it proves necessary (and I hope I have the wisdom to identify that moment if it hasn't passed already).

Happy New Year to all of you and I wish you all good health


Maggie - Stage IV (lung mets unknown primary) since July 2012

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Sfern5's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 1/28/2016 - 6:44pm

about a week ago I had my third infusion of Keytruda.  After the first two treatments I felt great and could see subcutaneous tumors disappearing. My only side effect was constipation. I am now experiencing some lower back pain. Has anyone else had that? Do you know what causes it? Could it just be the constipation is worsening? I also did Develop a cold sore for the first time in my life. The doctor immediately ordered a course of  anti-viral medication. Otherwise I feel great! Just concerned about the back pain.

Cancer, Schmancer.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 1/28/2016 - 6:15pm
Replies by: Anonymous, JuTMSY4, BrianP, Polymath, Mat, Bubbles, pookerpb

I need some advice on treatment options.

I have mets everywhere in the liver, bones, spine, neck, lymph nodes , lungs and abdominal wall.

I have been on Keytruda for five months.

The doctor wants to switch me to Nivo to see if i respond to nivo. He says he has patients that responded to Nivo that didnt respond to Keytruda but I believe it is basically the same drug so am not really keen on doing it.

I mentioned Ipi and he said i could try that.

What do other people think? Which is the better option?







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Anonymous's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 1/28/2016 - 11:22am

Can anyone tell me if during your IL-2 treatment while receiving infusions the week in the hospital, if you needed someone there with you?  My husband will be starting a new trial and while in the 5 days I wont be able to be with him. I worry that he will feel too sick at times to be able to either ask the staff for things he needs, or to get them a snack or something.

He doesnt want me there as he says he will be well taken care of and feels more at peace when I am home with our children. The hospital is 3 hours away and he doesnt really want either of parents there either. They are not a good support system for him. Instread of focusing on his needs, etc. they are torn and apart and so distraught (they are both in their late 70's) over this they upset him more.

Anyway, I would just like to know how feasible it is for him to do this without me?  I dont want to be worried sick if I am not there, even though I can be there if need be at any moment.



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Anonymous's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 1/28/2016 - 7:41am

Just wondering what to expect for my upcoming ipi/nivo treatments. I have heard some people respond without many side effects and some with quite a few. I was diagnosed 7 years ago with a melanoma mole on my right thigh, removed it surgically with very large margins. 5 years later a lump within the same region showed up. Again, surgery very similiar to the first. At the time interfuron was an option or observation. I decided to observe. 2 years later (now) I had a lump in front of my right ear biopsied and it tested positive for melanoma. A subsiquent PET was done and one other tumor was found in my abdomen under my liver on the messentary wall about the size of a softball. Wow have things changed. Anyone else have any similar situations? Just looking for some info as not much is to be had thus far.

FYI, I was originally supposed to start on a clinical trial a couple weeks ago in Portland Oregon. It was a combonation of Ipi and IL2. Just prior the insurance company denied the treatment and said they do not support clinical trials. It sounded like quite the 1-2 punch but I hope the ipi/nivo takes hold.

Thanks so much for listening. Scott.


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Renate's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 1/27/2016 - 2:10pm
Replies by: Renate, AllysonRuth, Janner

I had a 1.3mm melanoma removed from my thigh and microscopic cells were found in one lymph node.  They did a MRI and PETCT Scan and the results were clean except there is a gumball sized hotspot on the PET Scan on the opposite side of my pelvis where the melanoma was found.  My dr thinks it is probably metabolic activity in my small intestine but to make sure they are going to do a CT Scan to see if its solid - Has anyone had anything like this???  This waiting and worrying is hard to handle.

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faisrum's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 1/27/2016 - 1:40pm
Replies by: dnovak, faisrum, Janner, JuTMSY4

Dear Forum members,

Yesterday ( 25th Jan, 2016 ), my 7 yr old boy was diagnosed with Spitzoid Melanoma. This information is hard to absorb for me, as if this is true, this is one of the rarest case. Am originally from asia, my boy came to this country when he was 1 year old. I have a brown skin and my son is having brown skin too. He never had sun exposure. Neither my family or my wife's family has a history of melanoma or skin cancer. 

My boy had a normal looking mole and overtime it changed color. We were planning to take him be seen by doctor. But last month my boy got hurt on his mole while he was playing. His doctor's visit and diagnosis started right away. His mole was shaved off from his arm and was sent for biopsy. The biopsy result came out with a dilemma as below:

It stated: Significant atypia is noted but the degree of atypia could possibly be seen with a traumatized Spitz Nevus. This case presents conflicting features. Although the lesion is superficial in sampling, the degree of nuclear pleomorphism and immunostaining pattern are worrisome for the possibility of a Spitzoid malignant Melanoma. Despite this, a diagnosis of a traumatized benign spitz nevus is more plausible in a 7 yr old patient. Given the diagnostic diemma, the case will be sent out for a second opinion.

And as stated in the beginning, I received the second opinon that it is Spitzoid Melanoma.

Dear members, I have no clue where to start with. I live in Allentown, PA. Please advise me how can I reach out to the best facilities that can further diagnose and treat this.

May God bless you all.

Best Regards,




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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 1/27/2016 - 12:00pm
Replies by: Anonymous, Fen

Just recieved scan results.   I have been on ipi/nivo treatment and appear to be responding.   No major side effects.  My results look like a response so far. It's been 6 months and I feel good.   I'm interested in the thinking about the longer term durability of the treatment.   What is the likelihood or relapse or additional mets.   Thanks  for feedback.   Chris.  


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Okay, so I was at work today and I noticed a black dot under the palm of my hand. It's about the size and looks like a sharpie mark on my hand. I could almost swear that it used to be a freckle but i can't find any proof (previous pictures) I didn't have any pictures of my hand where the dot is. 

What im asking is: is this worth going to a dermatologist to get checked out? Could it be a blood blister I just realized i had? Or should I just give it time and see what happens from there? I am currently flipping out and I don't know what to do 

anything helps I appreciate it a lot 

please email me personally:

i will then send a picture as I can't figure out how to tag it in the forum. Much Thanks

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Replies by: Bubbles, Anonymous, AllysonRuth, jamieth29

Big thanks to Eric for finding and sharing this one!!!  Here's my write up and a link to OncLive's report:

That's the best I undertand it with as much history as I could find.  Hope it helps.  Happy Sunday!!!  (Love that phrase, albeit slightly adjusted, Allyson!!!)

Best to you all.  Celeste

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jennunicorn's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 1/26/2016 - 6:35pm

It has been over two weeks since my second infusion. My next one is on Monday, the 25th.

Not a lot different from the first infusion. Mostly just fatigue. Not that fatigue is easy, it's made it very difficult to work as much as I'd like to, since my job is very demanding. But, it's better than a lot of the other side effects. 

I noticed for about a week and a half after the second infusion that I had days where I wouldn't be hungry. Not that I was nauseous or anything, I just noticed that my usual (very active) appetite was not there. It's back this week, thankfully. My birthday is tomorrow and I'd really like to enjoy a nice dinner and some cake!

Of course, I stay realistic knowing that things could be very different after my third infusion, but, I will continue to think positive thoughts and hope for continued ease through the rest of my treatment.



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specka's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 1/26/2016 - 3:17pm

My husband is very sore. His ankles are extremely painful. He's 30 and says he feels like he's 90. I gave him a foot massage, that seemed to help a little. Any other suggestions? He isn't a pain killer kind of guy.


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 1/26/2016 - 12:35pm
Replies by: _Paul_, Nanners10, Anonymous, jennunicorn


I was on this board almost two years ago and it was very helpful. Thank you so much for that!! Was looking for Melaoma Specialist in SF Bay Area for my mom.


Mom went to Stanford and had a WLE on her right leg almost two years ago (where melanoma mole was) and SNB. The SNB came up negative. The past month she has had swelling in right leg (swelling has since gone down with more exercise and water). HAs had slight swelling ever since SNB so was not to concerned but it did get quite bad and her primary care DR sent her in for sonogram to rule out DVT and do a more focued one on lymph. What has come back is that one inguinal lymph glad is enlarged with blood supply and highly suspicious for mailiganancy.  The Melaoma Dr was suprised and said it would be very rare based on her original melanoma.  From what I have read on the board and overall it can happen. My mom is upset and concerned about her care at Stanford.. who she should be talking to and what next process is.. As of this point trying to get ultrasound guided biopsy, but also considering second opinion with UCSF. Though not sure would see her till recuurecence confirmed? My other Question include  -At this point should primary dr be guiding care.. she has talked with Melanoma Dr? -Is single Biopsy the way to go or should a PET scan be done first? 


Any input appreciated!!!!!



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Gothikchile13's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 1/26/2016 - 7:19am
Replies by: rosa1

Hello all. My dad was diagnosed with malignant melanoma under his right arm back in June. He's had many different therapies including radiation, keytruda, and one dose of chemo. Between having radiation and the chemo he developed sepsis pretty bad. Since then he has been very confused (though he still knows who me and my family are, he's just out of it).

He's had a few brain scans and the cancer hasn't spread to his brain or anywhere else really. After they did the first chemo treatment the doctor said that he was too weak to continue chemo and recommended we check him into hospice. He is completely unable to care for himself due to the confusion and weakness in his limbs from lack of activity. I'm just wondering if there are any other options then to let him rot in a hospice center.

I know it sounds really bad and there probably isn't any hope in this situation but I'm trying to do anything I can to help him.

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