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.

Expand/ Collapse Topic
 
Replies By
View Topic
Replies by: SuzannefromCA

Dr. Servan-Schreiber, Author of Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life Passes Away.....His brain cancer returned in May 2010 .... However, he survived almost 20 years after his diagnosis when he says the doctors originally have him 6 year life expectancy.... Hawaii Bob

 

David Servan-Schreiber, who wrote about cancer battle, dies at 50David Servan-Schreiber, a French-born doctor and neuroscientist, became an advocate of harnessing the body's own defenses to fight cancer after learning he had a brain tumor 20 years ago. He turned his personal journey into books that changed how the disease is viewed and treated.

  •  
 
David Servan-Schreiber

From David Servan-Schreiber's research came the book “Anticancer: A New Way of Life,” published in 2007, that sold 1 million copies and led to a sea change in how cancer was viewed and treated. (Viking / Penguin / July 26, 2011)

 

By Kim Willsher, Special to The Times

July 26, 2011

 

When he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor 20 years ago, David Servan-Schreiber, the French-born doctor, neuroscientist and later bestselling author, took the phrase "physician, heal thyself" to heart.

Submitting to the punishing traditional treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he still felt there was something more he could do to enhance his chances of survival.

Armed with his will to live and a belief that the human body had little-known cancer-combating capacities of its own, he set about looking into the way we understand and battle the disease.

From his research came the successful book "Anticancer: A New Way of Life," published in 2007, that sold 1 million copies and led to a sea change in how cancer was viewed and treated.

Servan-Schreiber's near two-decade exploration of the science of cancer was a personal and professional journey that took him from the verge of death to good health and back again twice before ending in his death Sunday at a hospital near his family's home in Normandy. He was 50.

Even when told last year that the brain cancer had returned and would almost certainly kill him this time, Servan-Schreiber refused to give in, continuing to promote the idea that, parallel to traditional medicine, healthy eating along with meditation, yoga and "a new way of life" could extend the lives of cancer sufferers.

David Servan-Schreiber was born in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine on April 21, 1961, the son of a celebrated French family with Prussian Jewish roots. David was the eldest son of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, a respected journalist, essayist and politician, who died in 2006.

He studied medicine at a children's hospital in Paris, finishing his medical degree at Laval University in Quebec in 1984 before specializing in psychiatry in Montreal and moving to a research post at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he earned his doctorate.

In 1991 he went to Iraq as a volunteer medic with the French-based Doctors Without Borders, the nongovernmental organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, and later co-founded the U.S. branch of the charity.

The story goes that he discovered he had a brain tumor only when in 1991 a research patient failed to turn up for an MRI scan and Servan-Schreiber took his place.

He underwent treatment but had a relapse a few years later and began to seriously turn his mind and his work to the effects of diet and lifestyle on the incidences of cancer and depression.

His first book, "Healing Without Freud or Prozac," published in 2003, was translated into 29 languages and sold 1.3 million copies. "Anticancer" followed four years later.

Certain critics dismissed Servan-Schreiber as a "new age guru" who proposed quack theories that more vegetables, more exercise and less stress were a cure for cancer. On the contrary, he was quick to admit that traditional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy were the first and most important salvos in the battle against the disease. However, he believed the body harbored a number of natural defenses that could create a terrain in which cancer would find it hard to thrive.

Said Ursula Gauthier, journalist and coauthor of his last book, "We Can Say Goodbye Several Times": "He wasn't a great thinker, a philosopher or a mandarin of science or medicine. He described himself as a scientist and a human. He was a mixture of heart and head, intellect and emotion."

Servan-Schreiber was told his cancer had returned when a brain tumor, which he called the Big One, was diagnosed in May 2010.

At the time he said: "Death is part of life. It happens to everyone. Profit from now, do the important things.

"I am convinced that 'Anticancer' has played an important role in the fact that I survived cancer for 19 years when the first diagnosis gave me only six at the most."

Survivors include his wife, Olga Tereshko, and a son, Alexandre.

 

Login or register to post replies.

Replies by: StevenK, KellieSue

Dr. Servan-Schreiber, Author of Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life Passes Away.....His brain cancer returned in May 2010 .... However, he survived almost 20 years after his diagnosis when he says the doctors originally have him 6 year life expectancy.... Hawaii Bob

 

David Servan-Schreiber, who wrote about cancer battle, dies at 50David Servan-Schreiber, a French-born doctor and neuroscientist, became an advocate of harnessing the body's own defenses to fight cancer after learning he had a brain tumor 20 years ago. He turned his personal journey into books that changed how the disease is viewed and treated.

  •  
 
David Servan-Schreiber

From David Servan-Schreiber's research came the book “Anticancer: A New Way of Life,” published in 2007, that sold 1 million copies and led to a sea change in how cancer was viewed and treated. (Viking / Penguin / July 26, 2011)

 

By Kim Willsher, Special to The Times

July 26, 2011

 

When he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor 20 years ago, David Servan-Schreiber, the French-born doctor, neuroscientist and later bestselling author, took the phrase "physician, heal thyself" to heart.

Submitting to the punishing traditional treatments of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, he still felt there was something more he could do to enhance his chances of survival.

Armed with his will to live and a belief that the human body had little-known cancer-combating capacities of its own, he set about looking into the way we understand and battle the disease.

From his research came the successful book "Anticancer: A New Way of Life," published in 2007, that sold 1 million copies and led to a sea change in how cancer was viewed and treated.

Servan-Schreiber's near two-decade exploration of the science of cancer was a personal and professional journey that took him from the verge of death to good health and back again twice before ending in his death Sunday at a hospital near his family's home in Normandy. He was 50.

Even when told last year that the brain cancer had returned and would almost certainly kill him this time, Servan-Schreiber refused to give in, continuing to promote the idea that, parallel to traditional medicine, healthy eating along with meditation, yoga and "a new way of life" could extend the lives of cancer sufferers.

David Servan-Schreiber was born in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine on April 21, 1961, the son of a celebrated French family with Prussian Jewish roots. David was the eldest son of Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, a respected journalist, essayist and politician, who died in 2006.

He studied medicine at a children's hospital in Paris, finishing his medical degree at Laval University in Quebec in 1984 before specializing in psychiatry in Montreal and moving to a research post at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he earned his doctorate.

In 1991 he went to Iraq as a volunteer medic with the French-based Doctors Without Borders, the nongovernmental organization that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999, and later co-founded the U.S. branch of the charity.

The story goes that he discovered he had a brain tumor only when in 1991 a research patient failed to turn up for an MRI scan and Servan-Schreiber took his place.

He underwent treatment but had a relapse a few years later and began to seriously turn his mind and his work to the effects of diet and lifestyle on the incidences of cancer and depression.

His first book, "Healing Without Freud or Prozac," published in 2003, was translated into 29 languages and sold 1.3 million copies. "Anticancer" followed four years later.

Certain critics dismissed Servan-Schreiber as a "new age guru" who proposed quack theories that more vegetables, more exercise and less stress were a cure for cancer. On the contrary, he was quick to admit that traditional methods such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy were the first and most important salvos in the battle against the disease. However, he believed the body harbored a number of natural defenses that could create a terrain in which cancer would find it hard to thrive.

Said Ursula Gauthier, journalist and coauthor of his last book, "We Can Say Goodbye Several Times": "He wasn't a great thinker, a philosopher or a mandarin of science or medicine. He described himself as a scientist and a human. He was a mixture of heart and head, intellect and emotion."

Servan-Schreiber was told his cancer had returned when a brain tumor, which he called the Big One, was diagnosed in May 2010.

At the time he said: "Death is part of life. It happens to everyone. Profit from now, do the important things.

"I am convinced that 'Anticancer' has played an important role in the fact that I survived cancer for 19 years when the first diagnosis gave me only six at the most."

Survivors include his wife, Olga Tereshko, and a son, Alexandre.

 

Login or register to post replies.

alexandra's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 7/26/2011 - 9:30am

Hi -

I got my pathology report today. Here's what it says:

Micro examination: This excisional biopsy measured 9 x 6 x 1 mm. and is cut in three sections and submitted in toto. In parts of the lesion there are typical features of dysplastic nevus with lentigunous proliferation of nests and single atypical pigmented melanocytes along the dermo-epidermal junction with fibroplasias in the dermal papillae. However, there are areas in lesion of epithelioid pigmented melanocytes in the epidermis. There is some upward migration of single cells. As well as there are similar nests of atypical melanocytes infiltrating the papillary dermis with a dense infiltrate of lymphocytes and melanophages. The morphology is compatible with a malignant melanoma, level 2 invasion developing in a dysplastic nevus. The vertical height measurement is 0.47mm. and there is no ulceration. The lesion is completely excited in the plane of section examined. The mitotic index is two mitoses per 1mm. squared.

Diagnosis: Malignant melanoma developing in a dysplastic nevus, level 2 invasion, vertical height 0.47mm.

I honestly don't know what it says. I would also like to know if anyone recommends SNB. The doctor said I don't need one, but I want to make sure that I make the right decision.

Thank you!

Alexandra

Login or register to post replies.

debandmike's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 11:19pm

Today was Mike's day to return to Karmanos for another week of IL-2. This will be his final week of treatments for awhile. Doctor seems to think he is responding well to the drug with minimul side effects.

When this week is done Doctor says it is best for us to wait and watch since the IL-2 can take awhile to work. Has anyone else been told the same thing? One thing I have learned over the last six months or so is that this beast is something that is always on or atleast in the back of your mind. With Mike and I being told back in February that he had less than a year to survive, I'd  say we are ahead of the game somewhat. What a blessing for us.

We are hoping to be able to enjoy the rest of the MI summer hoping Mike will feel much stronger and not as tired so we will be able to enjoy some sort of get a way which we very much need.

Login or register to post replies.

b767man's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 2:37pm

Seeing Oncologist Wednesday to make a decision on treatment.  Stage 2b, Clark V, 6mm.  Any thoughts from those who have done it would be appreciated.

Login or register to post replies.

MaryMary73's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 7/26/2011 - 11:48pm

After being diagnosed Stage 1 back in Nov 2010, I have been hyper-vigilant about any changes on my skin. At the end of June, I went for a pedicure. The heels on both my feet are quite rough and thick. Anyhow, about a week after my pedicure, I developped a blister-type of bump. Hurt like crazy but eventually the hurt subsided. I went to my podiatrist on June 19th (last weeK). He looked at it and said it looked like a blood blister and I shouldn't be so worried. He cut it off, cleaned it up and sent me home to change my bandage every day. I saw him again today. He took off the scab and said he thinks sees a tiny red/pink lesion. He said because of my melanoma history, he wants me to see my dermatologist. Dermatology appointment tomorrow at 1pm. I hate this. I really really do.

The only real wisdom is knowing you know nothing -Socrates

Login or register to post replies.

TracyLee's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 7/25/2011 - 6:49pm
Replies by: StevenK, shellebrownies

Hi y'all,

I will be going to U of Penn in Philly to join the BRAF+ extended access clinical trial.

Anyone else currently in that trial?

I'm hoping to see Dr. Schuchter once, get the meds, and then mainly be followed here in Delaware, as I do with Dr. Sharfman at Hopkins.
 

I really don't want to haul back and forth to Philly more than I have to, I'm almost out of time off at work. I am blessed to have both short and long term disability offered at work, but hate to go that route.

What should I expect at my first appointment for this trial? Long visit, short visit?

And, finally, I didn't mesh well with Dr. Schuchter last consult. However, I'm deferring to Dr. Sharfman's opinion that she is the one to see for this trial. I'll suck it up, I guess!

Thanks as always to the posse! Final ipi on Thursday, then BRAF as long as it will work. I see IL2 in my future, hopefully, wayyyyyyy down the road.

TracyLee

Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares. 1 Peter 5:7 Stage IV 5/16/11 Ipi - 4 rounds May - July 2011 BRAF expanded access trial 8/8/11

Login or register to post replies.

Wally's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/26/2011 - 11:16am
Replies by: Wally, MichaelFL

My initial post, profile and subsequent post will indicate my history and I am extremely grateful to all of the veteran's on this forum for the extremely gratious and possitive responses. I was supposed to have had a follow up in September following upon my surgery in April but have been experiencing rather sharp pains in my right rib cage so thought I would see the Oncologist Specialist Surgeon as I thought it may be that the wound was not healing properly. An X-Ray indicated a possible pseudo-tumour. CT scan was recommended confirmed a pseudo-tumour mayor fissure right but no evidence of metastatic disease. The Oncologist was not comfortable with this diagnosis as she had requested that they focus on mt ribs as that is where the pain was. She studied a 3D image on a CD and observed what appeared to be erosion of the 8th rib. Increased tracer uptake noted a whole series of problems with empahasis on irregulare increased uptake in ribs 7 & 8 right postero-lateral, with focal intense uptake in rib 8 right lateral, and a possible photopenic area as part of thios lesion, although it is not convincing.

The comment was:

"1. Scintigraphic findings are in support of focal intense osteoblastic lesion involving +- ribs 7 and 8 right lateral, and very intense in rib 8 - these are very suspiscious of possible osteoblastic skeletal metastases, or local spread to skeletal from primary lesion, with possible osteolytic component.

These lesions appear of a subacute nature."

I need to know what this all means. I will be seeing the surgeon who removed the melanoma from my lung in April tomorrow morning at 9 to see what he suggests. The Oncologist has suggested that rib 8 be removed to avoid further spread. I will also have rib 8 biopsied tomorrow to confirm the spread.

Has anyone else on this board had a similar experience. I was told that all was clean and no further spread was possible now it has entered my bones - will it spread even further into my other ribs / body parts?

Please give me some good news?? My wife and I are scheduled to leave for the UK on Wednesday to witness the birth of out second grand daughter - and now this.

I thank uo all most sicerely.

Wally Key from South Africa.

The sun shines at the dawn of each new day even though it may not always be visible.

Login or register to post replies.

llw75751's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 7/26/2011 - 9:03pm

I am new to this board , have been following for some time now, but first time to post.I am in houston hotel awaiting my 3rd visit to MD Anderson, I had originally came here to start IPI Friday, but scan results thursday shows brain met, which is reason for gamma knife tomorrow. I was kinda of shocked by the news so did not ask alot of questions that i should have and i know you guys are full of great information.

So first question is for anyone who has had gamma knife procedure, exactly what is this? procedure? down time?etc.

and the scarey question Bio Chem how bad is it really? I know every person is different but there are those symptoms that you can pretty much expect what are they???   please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you in advance, I have not put anything on profile yet, but will. I am actually in lobby of hotel so limited on time. I will check back later and thanks again.

Laura

I cant take a step LORD without you holding my hand

Login or register to post replies.

llw75751's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 7/24/2011 - 8:12pm
Replies by: llw75751, RMcLegal

I am new to this board , have been following for some time now, but first time to post.I am in houston hotel awaiting my 3rd visit to MD Anderson, I had originally came here to start IPI Friday, but scan results thursday shows brain met, which is reason for gamma knife tomorrow. I was kinda of shocked by the news so did not ask alot of questions that i should have and i know you guys are full of great information.

So first question is for anyone who has had gamma knife procedure, exactly what is this? procedure? down time?etc.

and the scarey question Bio Chem how bad is it really? I know every person is different but there are those symptoms that you can pretty much expect what are they???   please help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you in advance, I have not put anything on profile yet, but will. I am actually in lobby of hotel so limited on time. I will check back later and thanks again.

Laura

I cant take a step LORD without you holding my hand

Login or register to post replies.

Lisa13's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 7/25/2011 - 7:14am

I'm 2 days away from knowing how the dacarbazine is managing the small nodules in my lungs.  I was doing quite well until this morning, and then was plagued with major anxiety. Chest tightness, hard to breathe - you know, symptoms that might make you think bad things, but yesterday I had none of these symptoms. I'm very irritable and it's hard for me to focus and my heart is racing. This is my first post scan after first line treatment, so I've never felt this type of fear before. I keep trying to tell myself that the melanoma has been growing slowly from April to June, so it's either continuing to grow slow, is stable or is starting to disappear.   Can you guess which one I pray for????  I wasn't going to come on here until I knew my results, but my anxiety is getting the best of me.

I've also been thinking alot about these spots - most under 6mm, all of which havn't been biopsied to confirm melanoma. Even though most "tiny nodules" appear a bit bigger since the last scan in April, for all I know, a few of these may not have been melanoma (or at least this is what I tell myself).  As much as I want to know on Tuesday, I'm scared to know and I doubt this journey gets any easier.

Lisa

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

Login or register to post replies.

Replies by: NYKaren, Vermont_Donna

Hi everyone:

As most of you have read, I'm due for my last dose of Ipi on Thursday.  My stomach side effects are being managed well, but this rash/itch is pretty bad.  I know other side effects from other treatments make a rash seem like child's play, but it's bad, and last time I met with Dr. Halpern (dermatologist who co-heads Melanoma program at Sloan) he prescribed Doxepin, 25mg.  Aparently it's an old antidepressant, wich he said they use a lot on severe rashes with good results.  I already take 1 Zyrtec daily plus a short-acting antihist. every 4-6 hours.  Plus steroid creme, menthol creme, powder after sweating, etc.  

The instructions are "1 at bedtime, after tolerated and still pruritic after 5 days, add morining dose, then after 5 more days, may introduce 3rd daily dose."

I just started adding the morning dose.

So, I was just wondering if anyone here has had any experience with the drug.  It certainly makes me sleepy, so I'm curious if I can stay awake today after just starting the morning dose!

The only visible change in the mel is that there is some white running through it, but nothing has flaked off as Dr. Wolchuk hopes--he did say that the Ipi could work, but I would still have the pigment, but he does hope, as do i, that it will flake off.  I also notice that some small spots have increased slightly running from the mel (on my temple) towards my eye.  It figures that I won't see Dr. W. for my last infusion (I guess he'll be away) as I always have, but I will try taking a picture of it Monday and emailing it to him.  I'm so anxious about whether this will work or not, possibly "advancing" to stage IV, etc.  I guess we all experience that with any treatment, but it's still so scary.

Hope everybody's keeping cool,

Karen

Don't Stop Believing

Login or register to post replies.

StevenK's picture
Replies 22
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 12:25am

I've been driving myself crazy by reading a lot of studies. I always end up scared and in a bad mood. My family says I am no longer fun to be around. I've learned a lot that I didn't know before, though, so maybe I have to go through this process. So many statistics, though, and so much conflicting information. It's maddening! 

Are we all prisoners of these stats or are there things that you can do to make it less likely that you will get a recurrance? If you whipped your body into the best shape of your life and ate super healthy, will that really make a difference or will some study conclude "no significant survival benefit"?  

The stats are in my favor at present, it seems, but certainly no guarantee. I hate the idea of passively hoping for no recurrance. I feel a need to take some kind of action to seize control of my fate, but is there really anything that a person can do that can make a significant difference?  

Steve

Login or register to post replies.

mombase's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/25/2011 - 11:16am
Replies by: NancyGM, nickmac56, ed_CT

(This is a re-post with a more descriptive title)

Hi folks, I am a 57-year-old "youngster" who was diagnosed a few weeks ago with Stage IV melanoma.  I had a lesion removed from my back a few years ago along with the sentinel glands from both armpits, which came back negative.  I was so happy that I had dodged the proverbial bullet. A year later I was diagnosed with a meningioma which was removed successfully. On my yearly CT scan (June 8th of this year), my primary doc said that I had another brain tumor that was in a totally different location from the first. Since I had previously had a melanoma, she was very concerned. She ordered a full body CT and sent me to the neurosurgeon to set up a surgery. (This is all slightly complicated by the fact that my treatment is through the Sacramento VA. My surgery had to be done at the David Grant Hospital at Travis AFB). Just as I was about to go under, the surgeon received the results from the full body scan which showed several tumors in my lungs. They were thinking about stopping the surgery and doing gamma knife on my brain and doing biopsy on my lungs, but they decided to go ahead and remove the brain tumor anyway. It was definitely melanoma. The oncologist has said that the lung tumors are not resectable because of the number and locations.

Basically, the oncologist did not give me a lot of hope due to the brain tumor prognosis. I came in to meet with her for the first time with lots of questions but got very few answers. I guess the most discouraging part of the research is not knowing why some people respond and others don't. Nonetheless, I am ready to fight the good fight as I am a single mom to a wonderful 17-year-old daughter, and I have lots of things to do!!

The first thing that is going to happen in a couple of weeks is  whole brain radiation at Daivd Grant Hospital. Then I need to let my oncologist know a couple of weeks after that what treatment option I have decided on. IL-2 seems to have better odds than some of the others. Unfortunately, I would have to go to the Palo Alto VA Hospital where there is a staff dedicated to dealing with the side effects. I would have no family there and my understanding is that the side effects are treacherous (any personal experiences would be GREATLY appreciated).

Yervoy (ipi) also seems like a viable option, and I can be treated in Sacramento. Does anyone have any personal experiences, good or bad, with this drug?

I feel like everything is closing in on me, even though I am pretty sure in reality if one treatment does not work, another can be tried.

Any input would be so greatly appreciated!!

Getter done!

Login or register to post replies.

MikeWI's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 7/24/2011 - 12:04am

I am new to this site, having been diagnosed with melanoma on 5/25.  On my lower right leg, I always had a mole.  Being of irish descent and fair skined that was common.  Around November of last year this mole flaked off like dead skin.  Shortly afterwards it was replaced by a scab and that scab started to grow in size. 

I went to my doctor in May of this year and had the mole removed.  They examed it, and found it to contain melanoma. 

Shortly after that is a daze of tests I had a CT/PET scan, sentinel lobe surgery and a surgery on my leg for a deeper incision.

The PET scan showed the cancer had not yet Metastized, my lymph node was clean of cancer, and so was the tissue sample from the deeper incision.  Due to the size of the tumor(7mm thick) I am considered stage 2.

My next step may be a interferon treatment.  I have faith in my Doctors at the University of Wisconsin Hospital

I have read everything on this web site including the following quote "You have been given a Diagnosis not a Death sentenace"  Does anyone know any other strategies for dealing with this disease?

 

Thanks,

Mike 

Search and Destroy

Login or register to post replies.

Pages