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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rjcravens's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 9/3/2011 - 8:51am

Restarted interferon last night after having a week and couple days off. Took injection at eight, woke up at midnight with uncontrollable chills and shaking. My legs are killing me this morning and i feel like i have been run over......BUT.....i am going to remain possitive like everyone tells me and i am going to work my 6a to 6p shift today in hopes that i can make a difference in the lives of one of my patients:)

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lizard's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 9/1/2011 - 12:24am

Hi. I'm new to all of this and I have a few questions maybe you folks can help with. Been scanning this forum, but not seeing the info I'm looking for.

My wife is recently diagnosed with Stage3A. She had a positive mole removed in early June. The follow up sentinal lymph node (3 nodes sampled) came up positive for microscopic growth. She then had all 31 nodes removed from that armpit - all were negative and the PET was too.

We are looking at starting interferon next week. She will be getting the low dose regime from the start - no high dose IV - or at least that's how I understand it. Meeting with the oncology team this week and I'll get that clarified.

Problem is that my work takes me out of town a bit and I don't want to leave her to deal with side effects and kids etc on her own, especially at the start of the treatment, and I'm supposed to go out for a few days next week. I can't tell if I can safely leave the house to get groceries let alone leave town for 3 days.

Reading these forum postings, it looks like pretty much everybody taking the stuff feels worse than terrible. Can anybody say how soon she will start to feel it? Does it hit you after the first one, or does it take a few to build up? Can I be away at all during this beginning period or do we need to plan on her being incapacitated? Will it hit her immediately or does it kind of creep up? How long should we expect it to last after the first dose - hours or days?


Any advice is welcome, thanks

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alicia's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 9/5/2011 - 5:44pm

Hey friends, this past thur I went to Vandy to have 3 lymph nodes biopsied that had a hypoechoic lesion in each.  My surgical oncologist was concerned about metatatic melanoma recurrence so they did core biopsies on each node.  They took 14 samples total and all came back negative for melanoma cells!!!!!!! The results were necrotic tissue. In a way I feel guilty that I have such great news to share but I just thought It may give some of you hope.  I have had 3 primary tumors with the most advanced stage 3 w/ (+) SNV 2.3mm melanoma, second was 0.59mm stage 1, and third in jan 2011 was over 2.3mm stage 2 (neg SNB).  Thanks so much for those of you who have helped pray for, encourage and educate me through all this.  much love to you all!!!!!


love ya,


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petie540's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/29/2011 - 9:51pm
Replies by: petie540, acyr, Lisa13

Discontinued Temodar in June due to slight increase in size of lung mets. Still subcentimeter. Began a clinical trial with ipi 10mg/kg and GSM-250 fourteen days after each infusion. Nothing dramatic until four days after the third infusion when I developed quite a nasty rash-quite uncomfortable. Started on prednisone 40mg/day and after two days feel much better. One more infusion, then cat/mri on 9/30.Keep you all posted!

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rjcravens's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 9/1/2011 - 8:52pm

So, i started Interferon in May, sub q in june. Two weeks ago i started to feel like someone sucked the life out of me. I missed a couple days of work. Weak, nauseated, headache and sooo tired. I ended up passing out in the bathroom, giiving myself a black out. Went to doc. He said take a break, stop tretment for a week and restart at lower dose. He said my liver functions were up, lost ten percent of body weight, blood counts were low. Hbg and wbc. So i went from 12 units to restarting at 6 units. My queation is, is it still even effective?? He said if i had the same effects then we would have to quit. I dont want that. I want to know i did everything to prevent it from coming back. Any thought??

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JerryfromFauq's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 8/28/2011 - 11:17am
Replies by: Phil S, mombase

KIT as a Therapeutic Target in Metastatic Melanoma
JAMA. 2011 Jun 8;305(22):2327-2334, RD Carvajal, CR Antonescu, JD Wolchok, PB Chapman, R-A Roman, J Teitcher, KS Panageas, KJ Busam, B Chmielowski, J Lutzky, AC Pavlick, A Fusco, L Cane, N Takebe, S Vemula, N Bouvier, BC Bastian, GK Schwartz


In this open-label phase II trial, significant clinical response to imatinib was observed in a subset of patients with metastatic melanoma harboring KIT gene alterations.


OncologySTAT Editorial Team

Melanoma is a disease of biologically distinct subtypes and generally poor prognosis once advanced. A key goal is to identify therapeutic targets that may allow improved treatment and survival. One target of interest is the KIT tyrosine kinase receptor gene. Melanomas arising from acral, mucosal, and chronically sun-damaged (CSD) sites often harbor KIT-activating mutations or amplifications. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors have proved beneficial in other cancers that harbor KIT mutations (gastrointestinal stromal tumors), and there have been reports of response to imatinib (a KIT inhibitor) in patients with KIT-mutant melanoma. In this open-label phase II trial of imatinib in patients with KIT-mutant melanoma, Carvajal et al hypothesized that KIT inhibition would result in an objective clinical response and disease control and that specific KIT alterations would correlate with clinical response.

Adult patients with metastatic melanoma arising from acral, mucosal, or CSD sites were enrolled between April 2007 and April 2010 from six cancer centers in the United States and were eligible if they had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 to 2, life expectancy of ≥ 3 months, and measurable disease according to RECIST criteria. Tumor samples from study patients were evaluated for KIT mutations and amplification as well as coexisting BRAF, NRAS, and GNAQ mutations. Patients with tumors harboring KIT alterations were eligible for 6-week cycles of imatinib, which was continued until unacceptable toxicity or disease progression. Imatinib was started at 400 mg twice daily, with the dose reduced to 400 mg daily and then 300 mg daily in the event of toxicity; study treatment was discontinued if toxicity persisted. Tumor assessments consisted of radiographic tumor measurements and occurred within 4 weeks of the first dose of imatinib, then every 6 weeks for 18 weeks, and every 12 weeks thereafter. The primary endpoint was durable partial or complete response according to RECIST criteria. Secondary endpoints were overall survival (OS), time to progression, and association of molecular alterations with clinical response.

Of 295 patients whose tumor samples underwent molecular screening, 51 had tumors harboring KIT alterations; 26 tumors (51%) had only KIT mutations, 9 (18%) had only KIT amplification, and 16 (31%) had both mutations and amplification. Of the patients with KIT-mutant tumors, 28 were treated with imatinib and included 13 patients (46%) with mucosal melanoma, 10 (36%) with acral melanoma, and 5 (18%) with melanoma arising from CSD sites; none of the patients who received imatinib had BRAF, NRAS, or GNAQ mutations. Reasons the remaining 23 patients did not receive imatinib included absence of active disease, death, ineligibility due to other treatment or medical condition, and contraindications to imatinib.

Of the 28 patients who received imatinib, 25 were evaluable for clinical response. Of these, 2 patients achieved durable complete responses (94 [ongoing] and 95 weeks, respectively), and 2 achieved durable partial responses (53 and 89 [ongoing] weeks, respectively); the predetermined endpoint of five responses of 25 evaluable patients was not met. The overall durable response rate was 16% (95% CI, 2%–30%), median time to progression was 12 weeks (interquartile range [IQR], 6–18 weeks; 95% CI, 11–18 weeks), and median OS was 46.3 weeks (IQR, 28 weeks–not achieved; 95% CI, 28 weeks–not achieved). A total of 10 patients (40%) were alive at the time of analysis.

KIT mutations were widely distributed over the coding region, but all responses occurred in tumors with L576P and K642E mutations. Subgroup analysis revealed a higher response rate in cases with a mutant to wild-type KIT allelic ratio > 1 (71% vs 6%; P =.002).

In conclusion, significant clinical response to imatinib was observed in a subset of patients with metastatic melanoma harboring KIT alterations. Further studies are needed to confirm KIT alterations of functional relevance in order to better predict response to KIT inhibition.


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

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Another study relatiing diet and cancer.
Abstract The Mediterranean diet and more specifically certain meats, fruits, vegetables, and olive oil found in certain parts of the Mediterranean region have been associated with a decreased cardiovascular and diabetes risk. More recently, several population based studies have observed with these lifestyle choices have reported an overall reduced risk for several cancers. One study in particular observed an inverse relationship between consumption of Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, sage, parsley, and oregano with lung cancer. In light of these findings there is a need to explore and identify the anti-cancer properties of these medicinal herbs and to identify the phytochemicals therein. One agent in particular, carnosol, has been evaluated for anti-cancer property in prostate, breast, skin, leukemia, and colon cancer with promising results. These studies have provided evidence that carnosol targets multiple deregulated pathways associated with inflammation and cancer that include nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB), apoptotic related proteins, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3 K)/Akt, androgen and estrogen receptors, as well as molecular targets. In addition, carnosol appears to be well tolerated in that it has a selective toxicity towards cancer cells versus non-tumorigenic cells and is well tolerated when administered to animals. This mini-review reports on the pre-clinical studies that have been performed to date with carnosol describing mechanistic, efficacy, and safety/tolerability studies as a cancer chemoprevention and anti-cancer agent. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

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rjcravens's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 9/1/2011 - 8:36pm

My name is Rachel and I am 35 yrs old. I have been married for 13 yrs to a wonderful man named Jerry. We have three blessings...Megan 13, Dawson 12, and Amy 10. I am starting a blog in attempt to keep my sanity and hopefully find answers to some questions and meet others and hear their stories. Jan 2010 I had a smal "pimple" come up on my left upper arm. It wlas the same color as my skin and of no concern to me. My husband kept saying "that thing has been there a while, i think you should have it looked at." Being a nurse, I put it off and figured it will go away. It did not. First part of Feb I went to family doc. He had me use some cream for a couple weeks then took it off and stated it was prob a granulation, no worries. A couple week later i get the call its Melanoma. So i went to surgery had wide excision they traced the lymph node and removed it. PET scan and MRI negative. It came back with no spreading to the lymph nodes but was 4cm.
It was discussed to do nothing or start Interferon. I started the treatment in May IV, then started sub Q in June. It has not been nice to me. As of Monday, I will be reducing the dose in almost half. Here are some of my questions: 1. Did anyone think the Interferon gets easier after a certain point? 2. I am taking cymbalta in the mornings, as well as Ritalin. I take ativan and zofran on days of injections. Is there anything else i should take? And does anyone else have experience with Ritalin for fatigue? 3. When is this feeling of living in fear each day going to pass? I am eager to hear

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Donna M.'s picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/29/2011 - 9:45pm
Replies by: BethA

So after a solid week of dressing changes because my picc got wet, I found the DryPro Waterproof PICC Protector by DryCorp.  It's a rubber sleeve that you slip over your arm, and it has a pump that creates a vacuum seal around your PICC.  You can also use it for swimming.  I just tried mine, and it works!  Check it out at

Hope everyone is having a good day!

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rjcravens's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/1/2011 - 8:39pm

Please see my blog. i just started it and am looking for some advice from fellow melanoma warriors & family. Thank you.

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lovetheworld's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 6/19/2013 - 10:03pm
Replies by: POW, Pfitzge1, Anonymous, James from Sydney, lovetheworld

Hi everyone,

I'm a 20 year old male from Australia.

I have notice some new moles growing on my scrotum and the underside of my penis about a week ago and I'm concerned that it is scrotal melanoma.

The new mole on my scrotum is brown to black in colour, about 3-4mm, borderline is a bit irregular. I also notice some dark-coloured skin lesions scattered throughout my scrotum.

The mole on the underside of my penis is relatively small and black in colour, also has a irregular border.

I feel a weird itching sensation from the those two moles occasionally (i traced the feeling without look).

I showed my GP my new moles yesterday, he said I should get it checked and referred me to a dermatologist but I have to wait until the upcoming Monday.

I have a few questions:

1. Based on the symptoms, is scrotal melanoma possible?

2. If the melanoma is on my scrotum does it mean that it spreads quicker? (Since the skin on the scrotum is thinner.)

3. Can I get all my suspicious moles removed on Monday? Or do I need to wait for another surgical date? I really don't want to wait for the melanoma to spread before I remove it.

Thank you all for your precious time.

I am really worried, my mid-semester exams are near and I can hardly get into the mood for study.

I can't sleep at night without thinking and checking my moles.

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JerryfromFauq's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/31/2011 - 3:00pm
Replies by: Tracy Chicago

Some body likes MDA and dislikes Melanoma!  JackieW asked me to post this for her since she coouldn't get it to post for her.

Jim Mulva is the CEO of ConocoPhillips. His wife, Miriam, is his support system and a powerful force in her own right. What’s most impressive, however, are the gracious demeanors and philanthropic hearts that guide their professional and personal lives.
       Their recent $5 million contribution to the Miriam and Jim Mulva Fund for Melanoma Research, for example, reflects their goal to help a team of doctors at MD Anderson make advances in melanoma in a way that provides tangible success and helps patients. The gift will support the research of Patrick Hwu, M.D., chair of the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology; Elizabeth Grimm, M.D., Ph.D., professor, departments of Experimental Therapeutics and Melanoma Medical Oncology; and Jeff E. Lee, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgical Oncology and co-director of the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Research Program.
         “They’re working hard to map tumors through individualized therapy, to eradicate the tumors and save lives,” says Miriam. “We’re proud and pleased to be a part of that. We met the doctors, and they’re so committed to and excited about what they’re doing. It was contagious.”

ConocoPhillips has been involved with MD Anderson for many years, says Jim.
“We refer our employees and retirees from all around the world there because it’s the premier cancer institution in the world. I’m proud to be affiliated with, help and know MD Anderson.”

The Mulvas’ relationship with MD Anderson took on a more personal note four years ago, when their youngest son Jonathan was diagnosed with melanoma just three weeks before his wedding.

Jonathan’s diagnosis came as a complete surprise, says his mother.

“He had an annual physical exam including a visit to the dermatologist,” says Miriam. “He went to MD Anderson after finding a malignant mole on his forehead. They did such an incredible job, and we were so pleased with everyone from the administration to the doctors and surgeons.”

Jim Mulva has been on The University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors since 2003 and has enjoyed seeing the fruits of his labor firsthand.

“It’s just a natural fit for us to want to support MD Anderson,” he says.  “It’s such an incredible institution, and while it’s very large, it’s still very personal. Everyone there is committed to what they’re doing. It’s inspiring to see.”

Giving back is one of the Mulvas’ top priorities. Both Jim and Miriam are involved in numerous charitable efforts supporting education, youths and medicine.
  “We’ve been blessed,” says Jim. “What we have is not necessarily ours, and it’s important what we do with it. The kind of commitment, clinical work and research going on at MD Anderson to extend and save lives takes financial resources. The more we all do this together in a national way, the more we’ll help MD Anderson with its mission of Making Cancer History®.”

Video at

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

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JerryfromFauq's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 5/8/2014 - 12:08am

Has anyone tried this software program?  i'm interested in it for my wife.


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

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/27/2011 - 11:29am

I'm 3 yrs Ned from being diagnoses stage IIIa.
Just had an abnormal pap this something I tell my oncologist about?...or just wait 6 months til it's retested?

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Lisa13's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/26/2011 - 3:49pm
Replies by: emilypen

I've had a hiatal hernia and acid reflux for years. I just started Yervoy 2 weeks ago and both of these conditions have worsened. My acid reflux is so bad today that I'm dizzy, nauseus and have burning in my chest. 2 of these symptoms can be side effects of Yervoy, so I"m not sure which one it's related to.  That being said, does anyone whose been on or is currently being treated with Yervoy experience any of these symptoms? Especially if they had prior stomach issues.

Lisa - Stage 4 lung mets

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

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