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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I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

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Replies by: JerryfromFauq, Anonymous

The FDA has OK'd the premarket approval application for MelaFind, a device used to gain additional information on indeterminate pigmented skin lesions to help physicians make decisions regarding biopsy.

Mela Sciences, the manufacturer of MelaFind, submitted a premarket approval application to the FDA in June 2009. Data from a 1,383-participant trial and a companion reader study of 110 dermatologists were included. The device was associated with 98% sensitivity; the rate was similar in the reader study vs. 72% sensitivity for participating dermatologists.

The device received approval in the European Union in September. It is expected to be available in the northeastern United States in 2012.

To start, the device will be placed in select, high-volume integrated dermatology and skin cancer specialists' practices, according to a press release.

MelaFind is not intended for use to confirm a clinical diagnosis of melanoma, but should be used when a dermatologist wants to obtain additional information for a decision to biopsy. In addition, it is intended for clinically atypical cutaneous pigmented lesions with one or more clinical or historical characteristics of melanoma, not those with a clinical diagnosis of melanoma or likely melanoma.

The device should only be used on lesions that are 2 mm to 22 mm in diameter; are accessible by the MelaFind imager; sufficiently pigmented; do not contain a scar or fibrosis consistent with previous trauma; are non-ulcerated or non-bleeding; are more than 1 cm away from the eye; do not contain foreign matter; and are not on special anatomic sites.

Lesions classified as positive according to the device should be considered for biopsy, and the biopsy decision of a negative lesion should be based on the remainder of the entire clinical context, according to the press release. Those classified as "non-evaluable" lesions on MelaFind should be re-evaluated for biopsy.

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

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AlisonC's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 11/7/2011 - 3:25pm

Hi fellow MPIP-ers....

I feel like I've been waiting so long for this moment and I know how helpful it was to me, when I was newly diagnosed at stage III, to hear good news stories. I'm aware that there are a lot of people struggling at the moment with stage IV (I have a good friend who is also) but good news also has a place here and I'm grateful to be able to share mine.

I got my 10 year scan results yesterday....brain MRI, whole body PET and a bunch of smaller things.... All NED.

I am thrilled and I know I owe a lot of it to the support I received. Thanks to everyone here for being part of that.

Stage IIIB
NED since 2001

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Lots' of people both on this website and Melanoma International have given me alot to think about in regards to WBR. The people who have recently done it are so happy because it's helped to make the mets stable. Other people are very much against it because of some potential brain problems 2+ years down the road. Why damage my entire brain for something that some people claim won't help keep the cancer away.

Some people have suggested I gamma knife the one tumour and wait for the other one to stop it's bleed. However, while waiting for that, what's going to come up during that time? What do you do to your brain to keep cells from returning? WBR seems to be able to kill alot.

Why is it that I hear that people who've had a great response to ipi end up getting brain mets and once removed, might not return for quite some time.  My oncologist is starting to wonder if the Yervoy has actually created the bleed in the one met, but has no way of knowing this. Why would I go through WBR if this was actually true???? 

This is one of the biggest decisions of my life. I'm willing to do anything I can to keep this cancer from coming back and I could be as lucky as some people of that happening.   How do people in the U.S. get the tumours gamma knifed when the tumour has blood on it and you can't see it???

I don't know if this is worth going through something that could do wonders, but have potential cognitive, damaging effects down the road. 

Many impossible things have been accomplished for those who refuse to quit

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fenny's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 11/7/2011 - 10:46am

     HI all! I'm a Chinese from Fujian Province, the southern part of China. My sister was diagnosed with Stage I mucosal melanoma back in Dec 2009 and found to have advanced to Stage IV with PM (pulmonary metastasis)  this August. So far, she has gone through two surgeries and 13 cycles of chemo therapy. She has been on the following medication (said to be outdated by Catherine) from August  till now. 1. TMZ0.3g d1-5  2. Sorafenib 400mg BID (for PM)   3. Bevacizumab, Avastin   300mg q2w;q4w   Early last month, she went to Beijng for the third time for her treatment and her doctor said one lymph node in her left lung seems to go away and another one in her right lung seems to shrink. But I just wonder if the lymph nodes can go away so easily and start to doubt the PET/CT result. Did they make a mistake when doing the scan or when reading the scan result? The medical standard here in China is comparatively low and there are very few melanoma specialist except one named Guo Jun in Beijing Tumor Hospital. As melanoma patients all over China flood into Beijing to turn to Guo Jun for help, he is very proud and puts on airs when treating the patients. My sister went to Beijing 3 times and not until the third time did she see Dr. Guo in person at his office.  He translated a book titled "The Prevention, Detection and Treatment of Melanoma", written by Catherine, M. Poole, a 22-year survivor of cutaneous melanoma and founder of MIR (Melanoma International Founation). I called Catherine 3 weeks ago and she was very patient with my questions on the phone. She recommended me first ipilimumab (approved by FDA this March) and then anti-pd1 (a new clinical trial medicine). No idea whether you guys have heard about anti-pd1 and anyone is now on anti-pd1. Please let me know if you are and at what places in USA can patients have access to this new clinical trial. Catherine said that Dr. Guo Jun's Rx fails to keep up with the latest development in melanoma treatment, which freaks us out and takes away our confidence in the most authoritative doctor in China. sadThat's why I come here to seek more info from you all.

     As I mentioned above,  I doubt the result of my sister's PET/CT, i wonder if you know any doctor who's willing to read my sister's PET/CT scan she had in August. Sorafenib, a targeted drug for her PM, is kicking the crap out of her and killing her. I wonder if it is necessary for her to take this terrible untolerated drug if she doesn't have PM at all.  So please help find us a doctor to read her PET/CT scan. Thanks a lot in advance. BTW, a stage IV melanoma patient left me a message saying that he is now on pazaponib, a clinical trial at  Chao Comprehensive Cancer Center in Irvine California. It has stopped his progression for 14 months since he was discovered to be in Stage IV. Does anyone of you know about this new drug and is now on this drug too? Please let me know. This patient also mentions that he's taking high doses of resveratrol and green tea extract. Do you take some supplements to help stop or slow the progression. Please keep me informed. Thanks.    Our family is now in great confusion, not knowing whom to turn for help and how to continue my sister's treatment. Please offer whatever advice and help to  prolong my sister-in-law's survival. I really wish a miracle would work on her.  Many Thanks to You All!









Make Each Second Count!

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Jacki, Just checking in to say you are in my thoughts & prayers. I hope that you are well & you are not experiencing side effects from the WBR. Mary

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Karin L's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 11/5/2011 - 7:06pm
Replies by: Theresa123, j.m.l.

I have absolutely NO medical proof with this...just a gut feeling.  A few times I have seen these two issues questioned (different posts) as possible side affects from Yervoy treatment.  I haven't had Yervoy, but I did do HD IL2 Apr-Jun 2011.  Both are immunotherapy treatments.  I have had both ringing in the ears (tried stopping asprin, no help...MRI of the brain done Wednesday, all clear) and lots of hot flashes since treatment.  The tinnitus started about 2mos. ago...the hot flashes about a month or so after treatment (during treatment it was night sweats which is different).  Are these related to treatment?  I have no idea.  I just thought I would put this out there for someone else who might be searching for answers or possibilities in the future. 

Not only is this disease horrid, the treatments can be horrid with their side affects so any little bit of hope helps calm the nerves sometimes.


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 11/5/2011 - 1:00pm

Need to know if anyone else has been in my shoes and if so, what advice they can offer.  I had bad stomach pains for approx. 2 years - CT scan and upper and lower GI tests did not reveal anything.  A second visit to the ER for partial bowel obstruction prompted surgery on 9/22/11 which revealed a tumor in my small intestines.  The tumor and about 5" of my small intestines were removed.  Biopsy of tumor indicated melanoma.  I had no previous skin melanomas so needless to say, the doctors and I were shocked at the melanoma diagnoses.  Went to MD Anderson in Houston for treatment options.  All CT scans were clean and showed no evidence of the disease and I thank the Lord for this great news!    However, as the doctor indicated, there can always be a few cells floating around that won't show up on a scan.  According to my doctor, the decision to have any further treatment is in my hands, so needless to say I am very confused as to what I should do.  He said I could do nothing and just come back every 3 months for follow up scans to see if anything shows up, or I could have preventive biochemotherapy.  From what I have read, biochemotherapy is very brutal.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 11/6/2011 - 3:08pm
Replies by: Anonymous, JerryfromFauq, Bruce in NH, Lisa13, lhaley

There are so many post within the last few weeks from brave warriors dealing with Brain Mets. Is it me, or does anyone else see that too?

My heart & prayers go out to each and everyone of you.

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My father had 3 wide excisions last 2 months. The pathology reports after each excision continued to show Melanoma in situ cells on the margin despite the surgeon expanded the excision areas from standard 5mm to 1cm margin and removed all visible spots.

My father had surgery to remove a deep 4mm primary on his heel 2 years ago. A few little dark spots covering much wider areas than his primary showed up on his heel again early summer this year. Though all the recent biopsy reports showed Melonoma in Situ (which is much less severe than the primary), it seems very challenging for the surgeon to define the surgery border,

We wonder if we need to continue to expand the excision areas until clean margin. My dad has suffered both physically and mentally a lot last 2 months.

Anyone has similar experience with keep getting postive margins? Do Melanoma in situ cells pop up everywhere before they become visible?


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Lisa13's picture
Replies 22
Last reply 11/5/2011 - 6:52pm

Was told today I have 2 small mets in my brain.  I know this is devastating, but I would prefer people not to make me feel how horrible this is. Yes, it sucks, but there are people on this board who've had or have brain mets and are still here.

Gamma Knife is not in the cards for me considering 1 of them has already bled. They're both in very good spots in the brain not causing any problems right now.  Because I'd have to wait a month for the bleeding to absorb, they suggested WBR and then Gamma Knife. I know people have been very against this treatment, but I was told that most younger people tolerate this treatment quite well and only 1% of people get severe side effects.  The goal is to start WBR next Wednesday for 10 days in a row and then if they're still there, they'll be able to gamma knife them out of there. Apparently there is just above 80% chance of eliminating the tumours and possible mircroscopic cells. I know nothing is guaranteed, but I'll take these odds at the moment. I know many people have had success from gamma knife (SRS) so WBR should also prove successful. IPI and radiation could continue to keep the brain mets from coming back for a while - you just never know.

Yes, I'll lose all my hair, but they have some pretty divine wigs!  I have read on this board that people who've had brain mets are still hear - some years later, some working, etc, etc. There is always hope and I'm not giving up!  I still feel fantastic and I'm happy that I'll still enjoy life going through radiaion.

Anybody done WBR which kept the mets away for a while??  I know lots of you have had gamma knife which has worked, so that's a great thing!!


Many impossible things have been accomplished for those who refuse to quit

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Amy Mason's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 11/7/2011 - 8:49am


We are looking for young melanoma survivors/patients in their 20s and 30s to share their personal stories at New England based High Schools and Colleges during our Your Skin Is In program aimed at keeping teens out of tanning beds.  If you are interested in volunteering in our Speaker's Group please contact me at or 978-371-5613.  We'd love to have your help.  For more information about our Your Skin Is In program visit

Thank you,

Amy Mason
Event Manager
Melanoma Foundation New England
111 Old Road to Nine Acre Corner, Suite 1005
Concord, MA 01742
p 978-371-5613  f 978-371-0109

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Karolina's picture
Replies 23
Last reply 11/14/2011 - 9:19am


My friend has found out that she has a nodular melanoma. Unfortunately I did not find a lot of info about this unusual type of melanoma... most of the information available is very general and probably more relevant for any other type of melanoma... i am specifically looking for information regarding the prognosis of nodular melanoma, if within a month a lump has grown back on my friend's neck and was 200mm big! however, this 200mm does not refer to how deep it grown back. i don't know how deep it grown back because the doctor who looks after my friend is not very precise!!!

I just want to find out some more details information as to how nodular melanoma needs to be treated and more importantly, what is the suggested timescale for all treatments.


I would be very grateful for any additional information.


Best to all



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LynnLuc's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 11/4/2011 - 11:14am

I am sooooooooooooo excited! I am going to go to a session at the 2011 International Symp. in Tampa on Friday...skipping work but hey...I hafta go!!!

I am going to this session thanks to a 'friend' at Moffitt and his connections to the organizational committee...I won't have to pay! The organizational committee person even wrote me an e-mail to confirm it :)    Lynn

10:30am to 12:30pm

Grand Ballroom


“Immunology: From bench to bedside”

Session Chairs: Antoni Ribas, Jeffrey Weber

10:30-10:45Immunobiology of immune checkpoints – Jedd Wolchok

10:45-11:00The microenvironment as a predictor of response – Thomas Gajewski

11:00-11:15PD1 blockade in the treatment of metastatic melanoma – Mario Sznol

11:15-11:30Current and future status of adoptive cellular therapy -Jeffrey Weber

11:30 11:45Combining BRAF inhibitors with immunotherapy – Antoni Ribas

11:45-12:00Combining ipilimumab with other drugs – Steven Hodi

12:00-12:30Panel discussion/Q&A

Advocate for your own treatment.. Stage 4 Melanoma NED Surgery,Radiation, Temodar 300Mg July 2009-March 2010, then "Phase I Study of Anti-PD-1 Human Monoclonal Antibody MDX-1106 and Vaccine Therapy"

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glewis923's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 11/5/2011 - 10:28am

Dear ALL:

Brief history:  Multiple Lung MMel tumors since Sept. 2010.  Started Caboplatin/Taxol/Avistan.  Seemed to hold them stable. Jan. 26th 2011: Multiple brain tumors found after "clonus" rght. leg twitching/siezures.  Had 7 SRS's and WBR all of Feb.(11 to 14 tumors present, all but 2 or three under 1 cm.)

March/April/May had IPI/ Yervoy 4 infusions) May scans show stable.....Aug. scans show some slight decreases in most lung tumors and brain pretty much stable.  Mid-Aug. started Zelboraf.  Oct. 1st scan shows most small lung tumors gone, and the 3 =/- 1 cm. lung tumors regressing (shrinking).  Brain still more or less stable -possible minimal shrinkage on all but one.

QUESTIONS:   Since "something" at least kept me stable (with some shrinkage in lungs)  from March to Aug. , common sense tells me it had to be Yervoy  that kept me that way.  I also give Yervoy some credit for brain being mostly stable, although the immediate SRS and WBR in Feb. kept me alive initiallt at least.   !)  Would re-induction of Yervoy (along with contiuation of Zelboraf) be a reasonable proactive approach?   2)  Would some other or added thing- like temodar be an option?  Being that i know i still have several brain tumors that are most likely "alive", should I seek another round of SRS targets- 3 or so more?  

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.  I'm very lucky to still be alive now- considering the shear 3 of brain tumors initially found, but now that the Zelbofaf and remnants of Yervoy and radiation have kept me stable or regressed, shouldn't  I become as proactive as possible now and go for a "knockout punch"???

Thanks for listening, and i'm thinking and praying for ALL of You........I read the posts, but feel i can't add much to really help "clinically""  , but hope I help n my quiet "spiritually" .


Love ALL, Grady.

I'm Here for Now, I've got the rest of my life to die; and if so, old age could be overated and God does exist.

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