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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Anonymous's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 5/11/2015 - 11:32am
Replies by: Anonymous, Janner, ldub, tgeorge1

Does a visibly growing/evolving dysplastic nevus (noticeable but not significant, radial growth - not raised, not bleeding or crusty just expanding in size ever so slightly) always mean it's likely turned to a melanoma?  I have a biopsy scheduled for this week and am very nervous. Do more than not that are changing confirm to be melanoma?

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Replies by: Bubbles, arthurjedi007, Anonymous

Did I make a mistake? Went to 2 long distant places and signed the forms so they can get my biopsy material that was done locally so they can do their test to see if I qualify for their trial. The tests will be done at different places.

Wont that create a bottle neck where only the first place that got the material sent to them would do the test then the other place would have to wait until that test is done? Or would the local place send only a small amount to each? Good luck trying to get any info from the local place. It took my doc 3 months to get the result from a trial he tried to get me into.

If I did make a mistake then I need to call the place that I'm not sure about their trial anyway and have them not do the test. The other place I really want in that trial.


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tgeorge1's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 5/9/2015 - 10:12pm
Replies by: tgeorge1, Janner

Please bare with me, this is kind of long!   I'm looking for some insight from folks I suspect may understand where I'm coming from.  I’m a 32 Yr old male with fair skin, blue eyes, blonde/light brown hair.  Thankfully, I’ve never had melanoma but have a family history. My Grandmother had one about 10 years ago – she is alive and well today, my Grandmother on fathers side died from melanoma in her 70’s or 80’s and her son and daughter - my aunt and uncle on my fathers side - have had melanomas in the past (unsure what stages) – both are also alive and well today.  My father and mother have not had any skin cancers.  About 5 years ago, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from inside my ear.  I have gone for regular skin checks annually since then. At my last annual exam last December, a concerning mole was removed from my back which came back as a mildly dysplastic nevus.  For some reason it was at this point in time when I began to do some research, that I began to have anxiety for the first time over the chances of melanoma.  After this exam and biopsy in December, I began to really evaluate and look at all of my moles much closer than I ever had previously.  I went back to the dermatologist in late Jan because I had one that just didn’t look right to me – they biopsied it (I think more for my peace of mind) and it came back as a normal mole.  From my continued and now much closer evaluation of my moles, I noticed something on my face – a small nodule – that I noticed from pictures hadn’t gone away in almost a year and got concerned.  I went back in last month to have it checked and it was absolutely nothing – scarring from my own picking at it.  As of now, I have my next appointment scheduled for the end of June which will represent 6 months since my last full body scan in January.

I find trying to balance not wanting to be paranoid at every single mole on my body that doesn’t look right, with being proactive if something were to be “bad” so that I could catch it early.  Since I never have looked at my moles as closely as I do now, it’s difficult for me to know what has changed.  Once that look odd might have always been that way for all I know!  I’ve got many odd looking moles.  The biopsy in January – other than my BCC – was the first time they had ever biopsied one and I think it was more out of an abundance of caution due to my personal and family history.  My derm tried to assure me that if I am coming in every 6 months for a full scan, if something were to turn bad, they’d likely catch it early. I also know from reading these boards, that isn’t always true.  I also know I can’t go in every single month to have them look at me, especially because I’ve never had a melanoma!  So I’m faced with the decision of waiting until my next appointment versus going in far too often. I try to remind myself that my derm would have told me to "watch this one" or done a biopsy at my last visit if something was alarming but what if it the mole has changed and I just didn't realize it?  Is this mental battle I’m having over being paranoid about every mole versus wanting to be proactive, normal?  How do people handle this?

Here’s a perfect example, I have a very large mole that has been on my neck – just above my collar bone – for as long as I can remember. I remember as a child being told “it looks fine just keep your eye on it”.  I’ve always pointed it out to my derms at my visits and they always assure me that while it’s large (about 10mm) and not pretty looking, it is “fine”. Never have they even wanted to biopsy it.  Lately – at least in the last two weeks I’ve noticed – a tiny bump in the upper half of it.  It’s hardly noticeable to the eye and I can’t even tell there’s something there if I simply run my finger over it.  But if I look closely enough and spread the skin out, it’s there and I don’t ever remember seeing it before.  The bottom half of this mole has a hair protruding out so part of me wonders if this is just a hairless hair follicle.  It’s a perfect example of not knowing if I should just continue to watch and wait for more pronounced growth,/change (assuming it hasn't always been there unbeknownst to me), if I can it wait until my next exam in June to have the dermatologist evaluate it knowing that’s only about 6 weeks away or should I make an appointment (even though I was just there!) to have it seen asap?  This is the problem I’m facing.  I suspect some might say "don't take any risk" if you are worried go have them look at it however I just had a full body scan three months ago including this one of concern. I used to only go for annual visits however after the recent mildly dysplastic nevus biopsy, they recommend every six months.   

Everything out there in regards to the characteristics of melanoma to watch out for are extremely helpful but when you haven’t always paid close attention to each mole and then begin to, it’s hard to really know.

Sorry for the long post, it did help me to feel better just to share it! If anyone has any thoughts/recommendations, etc I'd apprecaite hearing them.

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looptwelve's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 5/9/2015 - 7:04pm
Replies by: Janner, looptwelve

Hey everyone,

I have a quick question on my pathlogy report. I know these questions are fairly common on here, so please bear with me.

My question is, I've commonly seen "atypical melanocytic cells" used to describe a dysplastic nevus not MIS. Is this truly a MIS nevus or is it dysplastic but trending toward melanoma? What's the distinction between the two?

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newmanmark's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 5/8/2015 - 4:20pm
Replies by: G-Samsa, ecc26

I started the Mekinist and Tafinlar combo almost 3 weeks ago.  So far so good with minimal side effects.  The only thing I have noticed is aching/sore knees.  I started a running program one week before I began treatment and continued after I started the medications.  Last week I noticed my knees were aching but I attributed it to the running.  Well, the pain has lasted for over a week now so I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the medication.

Has anyone else had this issue on the combo therapy and if so have you been able to manage it?  What are you using to ease the soreness.


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arthurjedi007's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 5/8/2015 - 1:50pm
Replies by: Anonymous, arthurjedi007, ecc26, JoshF, Wheels1994, Mat, RJoeyB

Basically they have several immunotherapy trials with no openings. They are phase 1 stuff for things they briefly mention in the videos we watch that they are looking into. Also if I understood right although the lag3 pd1 trial has arms for those of us who failed pd1 they haven't started filling them. they have one opening for one trial they have not given to humans yet but you have to have a certain protein on your tumor biopsy so should know in about 3 weeks. Talk about a ratty if that happens. 

He also thinks TIL is an option if you can get in.

For those who have ran out of immunotherapy options he has seen a chemo combo do really good. Way better than they used to see. I forget the names but he said they are fda approved.


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 5/8/2015 - 7:52am
Replies by: arthurjedi007, Anonymous, Mat, RJoeyB, Janner

What does bone tumor pain actually feel like?

I have a history of melanoma with 1 recurrence in the past 2 years and have been having increasing pain in my right hipbone/pelvic area, sometimes it radiates slightly into my back, sometimes a bit down my right leg, but mostly it seems to be right at the hipbone.  It has been gradually increasing for a few months but has just gotten really bad the last few weeks, so that it went from occasional and more of a dull ache, to constant and sometimes almost unbearable, though it will reduce back down to a dull ache, but now it is always there. 

I am going in for a CT scan but I can't seem to find much on what bone pain from tumors might feel like.   Melanoma lesions can be small, so I am not sure how aggressive I should be in following this up if the CT doesn't show anything.  Should I ask for a PET CT?

Does this sound anything like bone tumor pain to any of you?

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 5/7/2015 - 6:31pm
Replies by: Donna

Has anyone ever experienced ongoing pain beneath right breast, w/o any obvious lump or anything?    Any movement it hurts, a rigorous walk, coughing, laughing, etc.!   It's been over a week and I'm trying to wait it out and see if there is any change but it is quite uncomfortable and interfering with daily living.


Stage 3a

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 5/7/2015 - 11:52am
Replies by: Janner, Anonymous

Looking for help. Trying to understand my husband's pathology report. Doctors say his melanoma was in situ but I'm trying to understand because it doesn't say how big the margins are only that it was caught early and was low risk.  

-residual malignant melanoma in situ

-margins are negative

-previous biospy site changes

Microscopic description: Sections show a proliferation of junctional melanocytes exhibiting confluent growth along the dermoepidemal junction and pagetoid spread.  The tumor is located in close proximity to an area with changes consistent with a previous biopsy site. All margins are negative. 

Gross Description-

Received in formalin, labled right ear lesion, is a irregular skin with subcutaneous tissue with a single stich marking superior and double stitch marking posterior.  The specimen measures as follows: 2.2 cm from superior to inferior, 1.8 cm from anterior to posterior and 0.4 cm from superficial to deep.  The specimen is inked as follows: Green for posterior half and black for anterior half. 


I didn't go with him to his follow up appointment and just looking for some help understanding this. 

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 5/7/2015 - 6:11am
Replies by: AshleyS, Wheels1994

With bad luck in the past on just getting the Dr they give you, we're asking for help. We have done alot of research and want a Dr to go over all treatment and clinical trial options weather at their location or another state.. Thanks

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 5/6/2015 - 4:20pm
Replies by: ecc26, Julie in SoCal

Hi All,

I recently posted about a strange side effect from Keytruda that I started having about 6-7 months into treatment. Cramping and soreness all over my neck and torso with severe movement restriction. My newest scans showed a further shrinking of the tumour in my lung to 3 cm x 1 cm and my bloods were all good although the inflammation markers were a little high.

I have been put on steroids for a week- 25 mg prednisone and it improved a lot. Now we are weaning me off 5 mg per week to see how I go. We will not continue with the Pembro until we have it under control and i suppose there is a chance that they may not put me back on unless the cancer starts to grow again... scans again in 3 months. My doctors said there are cases where the drug keeps working even after it has been stopped and they are hoping that in my case.

Has anyone else had to stop Keytruda and go onto sterooids because of side effects, and did your cancer start to grow again after an initial good response? How long till it started to grow again?



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Anonymous's picture
Replies 0

We read every day but do not want to miss anything. Is there somewhere to get research help on stage 4 melanoma trials and treatments? This would be a easy task for a melanoma student. Maybe a student at MD Anderson? Thanks

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Wheels1994's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 5/5/2015 - 3:02pm

I've had many side effects come and go.  However, this Peripheral Neuropathy that I've had for the last 5 months has been ridiculously annoying.  Constant numbness and tingling of the feet and numbness of the finger tips.

Took all of the neurology tests to rule things out.  The theory is that the when I had 3 treatments of CVT following my Yervoy failure, the 3 Cisplatin doses caused a slow, progressing case of peripheral neuropathy that took about 3 months to get where it is today.  The docs seem to think it will get better with time and possibly subside completely.  There's also thought that it could be permanent to a degree.

I'm thankful that this is the only thing I'm dealing with right now at stage 4.  Just wondering if anyone else has had this experience with peripheral neuropathy:

How long did it last?  What was your experience?  What drug caused it?  Did it progress slowly then level out?  Duration?


Thanks in advance for a recount of your experience!


Matt King

Diagnosed Stage 4, July 2014

MD Anderson, Dr. Patrick Hwu

IU Health Simon Cancer Center, Dr Ted Logan

Currently responding to KEYTRUDA since January 2015

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Replies by: Janner, kpcollins31

I love my onocologist but he can be so vague....please help me understand.

just had surgery a week ago for right axilla lymph node dissection.


Final Pathologic Diagnosis:

A. Lymph Nodes, Right Axillary, Level 1 and 2, Dissection:

       * Metastatic Melanoma involving matted lymph nodes, 5 cm aggregate;  14 additional negative nodes

B. Lymph Nodes, Right Axillary, Level 3 and 4, Dissection:

     * Metastatic Melanoma in one of 4 lymph nodes, 1/4/

    * Metastasis spans up to 3mm.

   * No extrandoal extension is identified

C. Skin, Right Supraclavicular Area, Wide Excision:

    * no melanoma identified

    * previous biopsy site



In  conjunction w/ previous Path report from 3/13/15 , pathologic stage is pT3a pN3 (matted metastatic nodes)

BRAF mutational analysis was performed on prior biopsy 




ok my previous biopsy i posted as well the path reports, but i dont see anything saying BRAF, i know i am clueless.


They are reveiwing my case during tumor board tomorow to come up with the next plan of action, be it radiation or immunotherapy. But I am so clueless. I dont know what any of that means and it seems he just likes to be vague and keep it moving. So basically i am still waiting. But hey least they got these nasty tumors out of me.


Anyone that can help me understand this will be greatly appreciated...





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