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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We have started the process for Dave to go to NIH on Tuesday, 8/1, for a consultation regarding the TIL clinical study.  He has already been approved to start IL-2 at Roswell on 8/15 if he does not like what NIH has to say.  He would rather be treated locally, but if the response rates we have heard about regarding this therapy are true, he will go to Bethesda.  His oncologist, Dr. Khushalani,  totally supported his decision, and put together all the necessary paperwork to fax down to NIH (even emailing me Rosenburg's latest report study on this trial last week for our reference). His PET result was good, indicating only the lymph nodes in the chest (bulky disease), and two very small hot spots - one a node by his collar bone, and one a possible sub-q near his original primary.  Both were too small to see on a CT scan.  His brain MRI was clean, and nuclear stress test and breathing tests were good.  On a side note, he was B-RAF wild type - so I am assuming that any future trials with B-RAF and IPI would not be a possibility for him.

Hopefully we will know by next week what his decision will be for treatment.  Because his disease is bulky, they do want him to start something quickly, as the nodes are pressing on some vital blood supplies that we do not want compromised.  Although, if they were he would have to have radiation prior IL-2, which is one of the options we had pursued.

Thanks to all of you have replied over the last few weeks - you have led us in the right direction.

Best wishes to all,

Maria & Dave

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EricNJill's picture
Replies 57
Last reply 8/5/2011 - 5:31pm

I'm sorry I haven't been on here so much.  I just wanted to let you know that Eric is still here with us.  He is such a fighter.  He is less alert and his organs are slowing down but when he's awake he is able to talk to us.  I took some pictures of his leg last night.  They are very graphic and hard to look at.  His doctor said that the cancer is causing the tissue to rot. 

Thank you all for your prayers.  JillNEric

Video of pictures:  http://youtu.be/WhROjs27CDg

This is a blog post about the man I feel in love with:  http://www.melanomasucks.blogspot.com/

 

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lvitelli's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 8/2/2011 - 1:01am
Replies by: JerryfromFauq, lvitelli, washoegal, nicoli, Janner, Anonymous

I was recently diagnosed with Stage IIIA melanoma. I had a lymph node mapping the same time the melamona was removed from my left forearm. A microscopic cluster of melanoma was found in my sentinel node. That node and two others were removed. I still have my remaining lymph nodes under my left forearm. At this time, we do not know if there is any cancer in those remaining nodes. My doctor does not recommend surgery. In her opinion, the chances of melonoma outweigh the risks and negative effects of the surgery. Her recommendation is an ultra sound on the under arm every four months and a PET scan every six months. I've had one of each and so far, so good. I'm  just not sure what to do. She feels very confident in this treatment. I believe in her but have to wonder if I should do everything possible to make sure the cancer isn't there and doesn't return. I've adjusted my diet to eliminate the so-called bad foods while drastically increase the "good" foods. I drink green juices, eat lots of garlic, onions, kale, etc. I take an immune boosting multi viatamin along with D and C and drink three cups of green tea a day. Wondering if there is anyone out there with a similar situation? Anyone that had the surgery not knowing if there was any cancer in the remaining lymph nodes and the effects being felt now. I am very positive and optimistic but also want to do whatever I can to watch my beautiful 4 year old grow up.

Thank you

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Manubuzzi's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 7/29/2011 - 10:30am

 

Greetings to all 
 
It has been approximately 2 months since I have written, although I have been keeping an eye on this site to see how everyone is doing.  We have really had 2 really great months, and I have been taking advantage of this time to be with my mother and enjoy her company.  After the last surgery that my mother had to undergo, to take out part of her skull that was infected, everything got better!
My mom is great!  Always in high spirits and so so strong, she's walking :) for short periods, but walking all the same!  She's always positive with a lot of faith that everything will turn out well.  She is completely lucid and has had no side effects of 4 seperate sessions of Temodar.  This last few months has really renewed our hope!
 
Now, the next step is to start her on IPI.  Here in Argentina, this is not so simple- the drug hasn't been approved, and only a handful of doctors are allowed to administer it.  Also, she has to do several things in order to be able to even attempt to have the treatment.  We have a lot of hope for this new treatment.  We know that it's going to be an uphill battle, but to see her like this, so strong, it's almost impossible to imagine a negative outcome.  We are from a small town, far from the city of Buenos Aires.  And to do this treatment means moving to Buenos Aires for 6 months, not an easy thing to do.  But we are grateful for the chance... 
I want to thank all of you and tell how things were going.
I always want to write in different posts.. but my english is not the best (this was written with my girlfriend's help) and I do not want any misunderstanding caused by my bad english, especially when we are talking about difficult issues.
I continue praying for all of you who are fighting this terrible disease. All the best to you
 
Manuel
Patient son
Argentina

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CJK's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/28/2011 - 4:09am
Replies by: CJK, MichaelFL, Janner

Hi all

I've been following this forum pretty closely since I was diagnosed with melanoma about a week ago, and thought I would ask for some help understanding my histology report. 

I had a skin shave biopsy of a mole on my shoulder in June.  I think it grew over the course of about 6 months (it bled in the last month or so).  My GP thought it was a pyogenic granuloma - hence the skin shave biopsy.  It was nodular malignant melanoma.

I had a CT scan but have not  received the results.  I am scheduled for my WLE and SNLB in a couple of weeks and I know the results from these will determine the staging.  In the meantime, I am trying to better understand my situation so I can prepare myself.  If possible, I would like to know the good and the bad signs of the report.  Here are the details:

Macroscopic description:

10 x 3 x 7 mm

Histology:

The skin shave specimen shows an extensively ulcerated malignant melanoma in the vertical growth phase.  It is composed of variably sized nests and sheets of pleomorphic melanocytes which lack maturation with depth.  Deep dermal mitotic figures are identified and occasional cells show cytoplasmic melanin pigmentation.  In this sample, the depth of invasion is at least 3.2 mm.  The presence of a junctional component is difficult to assess due to epidermal ulceration.  On immunohistochemistry, the tumor cells are positive for S1oo and Melan-A and show focal positivity for HMB-45.  It is widely present at the margins of this shave sample.

From what I have read, a 3.2mm ulcertated tumor is IIB, is this correct?  Can anyone make sense of the sentence about the 'variably sized nests'?  Is it a good sign that the pleomorphic melanocytes lack maturation with depth?  I'm not certain if it is abnormal, but when my GP was removing the tumor via skin shave she said it almost fell off.  Granted, I had bumped my shoulder against a wall the week before and done most of the work for her, pretty well ripping the mole out of my arm.  I didn't receive the numerical figure of the mitotic rate, but is there any indication from the description in the report?  Finally what is the significance of a junctional component or the presence of melanoma at the margins of the shave sample?

I realize there are quite a few questions here (of course, it's not the half of them).  Any assistance would really be appreciated. 

 Thanks

 CJ

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AZ_Gal's picture
Replies 27
Last reply 7/28/2011 - 11:50pm

Can anyone tell me if there is a stage that goes along with clarks level? or how i find it out.

I was diagnosed with melanoma on my upper left shoulder blade in April of 2011.  I had had it removed by my PCP two weeks before. when the results came back I was told the margins were clear and that i just needed to see a dermatologist every 6 months from here on out. But now I'm seeing surgeons for more biopsies and to have MORE skin taken from around my original incision. WHY THE HECK DO I NEED MORE TAKEN IF THE MARGINS ARE CLEAR?

They told me today when I had my consult with the surgeon that not only do i need more skin taken from the original site but that i have to have my lymph nodes biopsied in my neck and/or armpit. Hmmmmmm. That sounds like a total joy!....NOT!

They also told me that my spot was .99mm thick boarderline for hardcore treatment. so they are playing it safe since I'm so young and going the more hardcore route.

The Dr. says I grow Melanoma. It doesn't just start as a mole like most people.....and just grow a spot of melanoma. How awesome! I'm a petree (sp?) dish for this crap! WTH?!?!

Any input would be great! THX!

Kim

Morenci, AZ

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DeniseK's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 8:42am

Hi Everybody! 

I just changed my profile pic to show you the pic of these red bumps that have come up in the past couple of days.  They're firm to touch and resemble a pimple without a head.  I talked to the oncologists office today and told them of the bumps but still have appointment scheduled for 2 weeks, August 9th.   I have no idea what to look for as far as a recurrence.  The bumps appear just above my scar line.  Thanks for all your help!! 

Denise

Cancer Cannot cripple love, silence courage, destroy friendship, shatter hope or conquer the spirit.

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MaryBeth and Jeff's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 7/30/2011 - 4:41pm

What an emotional day today. Some of you may have read my previous post where my husbands medical oncologist felt he was a Yervoy non-responder......Well... we met with the Neurosurgeon today to go over the findings of yesterday's MRI. Of the 19 brain lesions most are gone and the remaining few are barely visible!!  The neurosurgeon was amazed to say the least. He said he actually expected to see many more new lesions as he felt the brain mets were very aggressive (an increase from 5 lesions to 19 total in 2 1/2 weeks)  and he has never seen 19 lesions respond like that. He attributes this to the Yervoy! (per neuro he hasnt seen Gamma produce such amazing results on so many lesions)Granted my husband is still fighting the ever increasing tumors, nodules and sub q's on his neck, back, legs, arms etc. which seem to have appeared rather rapidly after his 3rd Yervoy treatment. (He finished his 4th and final Yervoy treatment on July 15th). His neuro does not feel these are immune responses...but hey, let him stick to his gamma knife expertise...because the medical onc was mistaken in determining my husband was a Yervoy non responder. I give all the Glory to God and continue to pray for all of the fellow warriors who are fighting this insidious disease. 

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Lisa13's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 9:46am

Dacarbazine has not worked for the mets in my lungs unfortunately. Even though I'm disappointed, I'm happy to report that the melanoma is nowhere else in my body, no new tumours appear in my lungs and the ones in my lungs have only grown a wee bit.  It is a little comforting knowing that since the end of April, the mets in my lungs are slow growers  which puts me in a good position for Yervoy which I'll be starting in 2 weeks (pending brain CT on Friday).  

My oncologist is the lead investigator on the trial for IPI here in Toronto and knows his stuff. He reminded me of Jimmy B with all his scientific data which confused the heck out of me :)  Clinical trials are the only way to get ipi here in Canada and I'm lucky to be 15 minutes away from the hospital! Hope is certainly not lost!

For the next week, I'm going back to my vitamin/supplement protocol (oh, how I've missed you!) and gearing up for Plan B!   

Lisa

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

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moore's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/27/2011 - 4:58pm
Replies by: Harry in Fair Oaks, Anonymous, moore

I am about to finish a year of Leukine injections.  I contracted MM in 2004.  In the past 3 years I have had a lung resection and a spenectomy.  Leukine was ordered to strengthen my immune system and, hopefully, prevent melanoma cells from attaching to other organs.  So far, so good.  Latest scans are clear.  My wife is terrified that lesions will reappear after I go off of Leukine.  Do other MM patients have experience with Leukine?

Moore

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Hi All...I was diagnosed with stage 1B melanoma in January of 2009.  Small mole on my left should that I had my entire life that one day went from brown to black.  Had local wide excision with sentinel node biopsy done on two sentinel nodes.  Everthing was clear and I was staged at 1B based on depth.  All tests and surgery were done at CINJ (New Brunswick, Dr Lee).  My follow up treatment is very simple (which has me concerned).  I now get blood work and a chest xray twice a year at 2 years out.  For the first two years it was done at every 3 months.  Here is where my concern comes in...my father had a mole in almost the exact same place 8 years prior.  Cancer free until October 2010 when it returned to his left lung.  Once again cleared through his PET scan on Jan 29 2011.  April 28, 2011...melanoma returned with a vengeance going to remaining lung, liver, brain and bones.  In light of the family history I am concerned that the cancer will come back.  My father's oncologists have all said "it is the silent cancer"...hiding until one day it just comes back and there really is no detecting it before it comes back.  I currently go to Fox Chase in Philadelphia for my follow up care because CINJ wasn't the best experience for me.  My doctor's nurse was very laid back and would barely palpate my lymph nodes during my exam.  I didn't see my surgical oncologist once after the day he performed the surgery.  All follow care was with his RN.  Fox Chase dermatology department is beyond thorough...love Dr. Zook!  I tried to get into the Genetic Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase BUT was told I do not qualify because there ins't enough family history (guess me and my father having melanoma isn't enough?)  So...my question is, what follow testing do you receive?  After I want to be as proactive as possible and just feel that a simple chest xray and bloodwork really isn't enough.  Any advice would be appreciated...thanks much!

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Hi All...I was diagnosed with stage 1B melanoma in January of 2009.  Small mole on my left should that I had my entire life that one day went from brown to black.  Had local wide excision with sentinel node biopsy done on two sentinel nodes.  Everthing was clear and I was staged at 1B based on depth.  All tests and surgery were done at CINJ (New Brunswick, Dr Lee).  My follow up treatment is very simple (which has me concerned).  I now get blood work and a chest xray twice a year at 2 years out.  For the first two years it was done at every 3 months.  Here is where my concern comes in...my father had a mole in almost the exact same place 8 years prior.  Cancer free until October 2010 when it returned to his left lung.  Once again cleared through his PET scan on Jan 29 2011.  April 28, 2011...melanoma returned with a vengeance going to remaining lung, liver, brain and bones.  In light of the family history I am concerned that the cancer will come back.  My father's oncologists have all said "it is the silent cancer"...hiding until one day it just comes back and there really is no detecting it before it comes back.  I currently go to Fox Chase in Philadelphia for my follow up care because CINJ wasn't the best experience for me.  My doctor's nurse was very laid back and would barely palpate my lymph nodes during my exam.  I didn't see my surgical oncologist once after the day he performed the surgery.  All follow care was with his RN.  Fox Chase dermatology department is beyond thorough...love Dr. Zook!  I tried to get into the Genetic Risk Assessment Program at Fox Chase BUT was told I do not qualify because there ins't enough family history (guess me and my father having melanoma isn't enough?)  So...my question is, what follow testing do you receive?  After I want to be as proactive as possible and just feel that a simple chest xray and bloodwork really isn't enough.  Any advice would be appreciated...thanks much!

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

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