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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budspal's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 1/7/2011 - 3:15pm

recently diagnosed stage 4 and looking for feedback re side effects from the ipi ....any info greatly appreciated. 




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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 1/7/2011 - 10:21am
Replies by: Janner, Cynthia C

Can Anyone Explain This To Me Please.


1. Histolic Sections Show A Deep Scallop Biopsy.  There Is An Isolated Neoplasm Composed Of Atypical Melanocytes In Sheets, Nests, Trabeculae And Single Cells Within The Dermis. There Is Also An Intraepidermal Component Of Irregular Nests And Single Cells With Pagetoid Spread. The Cark's Level is V, The Breslow Thickness Is Greater Than 4.0 MM (Four Point Zero Millimeters). The Tumor Is Transected At The Base. Regression Is Absent. There Are 60 (Sixty) Mitosis Per Square Millimeter.



I Am Uncertain What This Means And Am Concerned With The Mitosis Rate. Please Explain Mitosis And If This Rate (60) Is Common Or Bad.

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dian in spokane's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 1/7/2011 - 9:50am

I'm sad to report that Sandy from Buffalo passed away yesterday at 9 am. She was moved into Hospice last weekend. She was known here on the new board as Sandra Dee, since, for some reason, she was unable to register as Sandy from Buffalo.

She's fought a long hard battle with melanoma, and was well known here at the MPIP for her many contributions for a long time, so I thought it should be posted here. I'll pass along a link to her obituary when I receive it.

Dian in spokane

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naty's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 1/7/2011 - 2:36am

Well thanks to this Board Dad and I went to MDA in November.  What a great experience there!!!!     He was diagnosed February of 2005 stage III (?c).   Diagnosed stage IV October 6th to brain, ling, liver, and spleen.  The month of november he drove himself (against my better judgement) to WBR daily for 13 days.  Temedor was started early november.  

But just 2 weeks ago my father declined and I had Hospice start this past Sunday evening.  Tuesday he turned for the worse and lost the battle early Wednesday morning.  He fought to bitterly to the end even wanting to start his next round of Temodor last saturday.

Thank you all for your support.  And to those fighting Melanoma, may you win the battle and melanoma get sucked down the drain!  I am going to make it my mission to educate regarding melanoma and sunscreen use.  I am rambling but I need to do this ramble as no one else seems to understand.  I hate seeing people fry themselves in the sun-let alone their kids.  

anyways to all the fighters here and their family members keep going and fighting!!


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carol b's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 1/6/2011 - 7:51pm

well my oncologist doesnt believe that interleukin-2 will do me any good. He worked his magic and got me into a clinical trial in Vanderbilt. I have an appointment next Wed. on the 12th..Im not sure if its a meet and greet kinda day or if they will keep me an get me prepared for some kind of treatment. Its the not knowing that is driving me so crazy. I dont even know what kind of trial it is but my onc in Memphis says it is having a 45 % success rate. He said if he was in my shoes thats where he would go. But the pain is getting very intense. I finally got Hydrocodone 10/500 . gabapentin 300 mg and clonazepam 0.5 mg.. It helps a little. I just pray the pain doesnt multiply as fast from now till next week as it did from last week till now.. Vanderbilt is suppose to be calling with details before the end of the week. i hate the waiting. the drugs make me woozie so if this post sounds crazy thats why. i will repost when i find out what kind of trial i will have. thanks to everyone on this board who has posted their story. Some r so encouraging. life feels a little bleak for now but maybe Vanderbilt will be my miracle cure.. hugs to all

Believe all thing are possible, believe faith can move mountains, believe in the healing power of prayer and never ever give up on your dreams

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ktorrey14's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 1/6/2011 - 6:52pm


My younger brother recently moved to the Portland, Maine area & we are looking to find him a new doctor skilled in following up with his melanoma care.

He was diagnosed 3 1/2 years ago with Stage 2A NMM and moved from Minnesota to Maine a couple months ago.  We had a fantastic doctor here in the Minneapolis area who worked exclusively with melanoma patients so are now looking for someone in Maine to continue being vigilant with his care.

If need be, he COULD travel the two hours to BOSTON area where we know they would have many skilled physicians.  He just thought if there were a skilled Melanoma Specialist closer to him, it would work-out better for all these follow-up visits.

Thanks in advance for your help!!! :)

Big Sis KT

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So... hello to everyone!  I haven't posted in quite awhile, haven't even been around since they changed the format.  Hope everyone is doing as well as can be expected.  Heres the thing...just went to get my eyes examined.  Did the dilation thing and my eye doc found a very small choroidal nevus in my left eye.  To any who don't know me, I had desmoplastic mm on my left cheek about 5 years ago...2.8 breslow, clark IV, stage II - nodes all clear.  We took a pic of nevus for baseline and will follow up in a year.  I am concerned that it is very near the optic nerve (they showed me the pic - very cool!)  Trying not to freak out too much, I know it was small and not all choroidal nevus become melanoma.  Has anyone had this?   And, if so, how long were you followed?  Tell me some good news!



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Joan's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 1/6/2011 - 5:19am
Replies by: Joan, dian in spokane, Vermont_Donna, Anonymous, lhaley


I am newly diagnosed and 6 days ago, I underwent WLE and SLNB at both armpits. 5 nodes were taken for one side and that side i am experiencing burningin the arm pit and spreading down the inner arm towards the elbow. I have no sign of redness, swelling, fever, just this burning sensation. Has anyone else ever experienced this? Thank you

I will not stress over the things I cannot change

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The Gambler's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 1/6/2011 - 12:15am

The subject is not my wife .....Mine is the lovingwife Deb not to be confused.She is my life Piolot weather on the back of our bike on an adventure or next to me with support and all the love she can give and give.

Well I thought I was done with Mel as of last July giving up my lymph Nodes and we were looking forward to December  fresh exam and PET Scan with a new good outlook for the new year. Well then came the phone call from the Onc and's back more melanoma and another tumor.Altho the lymph nodes,lungs,liver and assorted vital organs all not showing currently  (good for us )...but  it has found it's way to my brain it is a tumor the size of a golf ball  ( I could have been more satisfied with a big toe instead ).Well the next 4 days were full of all the worst possible Ideas of what was coming up next.Today was the meeting with the neurosurgeon for Deb and i learn our fate.Our warrier Bill58 has been fresh in our memory so we hold on for some promise.The surgeon was went through every item of every detail  to the point Deb and i could feel confident ( how do you go from terrified with brain surgery to be OK with it ? ).Well it is going to be surgery and not radiation unless he is forced he favors surgery to be least amount of potential other complications.I asked the question of how long did it take to grow in the brain and his estimate was about 6 weeks,he told me as fast as Mel spreads and grows I do not have the luxury of time the longer it growd the more damage happends i am already notice issues in speech.

.I still feel one of the best things i can do as take in all the best nutritional foods and a couple vitamins to support my immune system as best you can....OH yea and to make sure my wife knows daily I love her.

Well off we go to kill some Mel ass,,,wish us the best..

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 1/5/2011 - 11:34pm

I'm posting for a family member that is Stage III and soon will undergo ELND (after the sentinel showed a microscopic amount in one).  Hopefully the ELND will not show any more spread but if it does, I wanna help her make sure she is getting the best treatment she can. It doesn't look like NV has a NCI center. If it did, maybe that would be a good place to go. How does she make sure her onc is going to fight her life in every possible way? How do we make sure he's aware/active/literate of the phast III trials going on and will refer her if appropriate? 

Immediately is there anything she should ask the onc-surgeon regarding the ELND. Are multiple ways this can be done, are there speical scans that can be done during the surgery to make sure they are taking what they need. It seems like I read it really does matter how good the onc surgeon is performing the ELND. How can she make sure she's in good hands?


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PeterO's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 1/5/2011 - 11:28pm
Replies by: Jim in Denver

Watching what's happening with the Avastin controversy in breast cancer makes me wonder what the prospects are that FDA will ultimately decline to approve Yervoy (as I guess ipi is being called now) for advanced melanoma. What's the speculation? The astronomical prices for cancer drugs is bound for a head-on collision with Obamacare.

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brettlamb320's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 1/5/2011 - 5:17pm
Replies by: LynnLuc, lhaley

I am stage IIIC diagnosed 6/09.  original site was a mole on my forehead right at my hairline.  SNB was positive, had a radical left side neck discectomy where they found one positive node.  I was accepted into the phase III ippy trial in 10/09.  Everything has progressed nicely until my appointment/treatment yesterday.  I had my usual 3 month scans and a spot has showed up in my left lung.  Retrospectively you could see something starting to grow in my scan 3 months ago.  It looks like I am going back under the knife here shortly.  I am meeting with a cardiothoracic surgeon next week in Charlotte.  I think they can do a VATS procedure and get it.  Not sure yet what the medical side of this one will be... The surgery always seems to be the easier choice than the treatment.  Anyone had any experience with anything related?  How about a great thoracic surgeon?  I am anxious they may tell me i have to do intf this time.  If not, I would suspect they will dose out chemo or radiation.  jeezz.. its amazing what you can get used to. 





Regret is a waste time.

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Replies by: Sherron, Lori C, JuleFL

I am trying to sort through my own feelings and emotions of the past two years - being a caregiver for Will, the whole nutty clinical trial process, doctors who should know what they are talking about but didn't - all of it.  I'm also trying to write about it, hoping that my experiences might be interesting and even useful to others. 

If anyone would like to dialogue with me about these things, please email me!  Brennan07at     I am still grieving in a way that I cannot quite understand - I thought I was well aquainted with grief but found out this was a very different experience than any other I've ever had.    I have tremendous guilt, anger, and just sadness. 

I know many people have had wonderful hospice experiences.  Unfortunately, I did not.  The hospital we took Will to was entirely unused to dealing with people undergoing advanced cancer treatment (it was a local community hospital, same hospital Bill went to two weeks ago) and pushed a DNR and hospice from the moment we arrived.  The hospice team insisted on pushing their views at every turn, and I had to fight extremely hard to get Will treatment while waiting for actual information and facts (from his oncology team at Rush and from test results).  They did not want to do any acftive treatment; so sure they were that it was futile.  I kept wanting facts, they kept treating me like I was insane.  "He's very sick", they kept telling me.  I wanted to scream, "Yes, not having recently arrived on this planet, I'm aware of that!  I've been taking care of him for a year and a half!"  In the aftermath, they (the hospice people) kept sending me "How to get through your first Christmas without your Loved One" booklets and such (I'm Jewish) and warning me against "feelings of anger". 

Well, I have a lot of anger - towards a system that forces patients to sift through insane amounts of highly techinical information at the most difficult time of their life to unearth appropriate clinical trials, towards pharmaceutical companies that are motivated by profit solely, towards Md/Ph.Ds who should , but do not, have any idea what they are talking about at critical junctures when lives depend on them - and that's not even touching on insurance companies.  I was also completely unprepared for the emotions I would experience as a caregive; how focused I became on Will to the degree that I really felt we were one person - and then when I lost him, felt absolutely ripped in half. 

Anyway,, I would really like to talk (I do best via email but can do phone) with others on some or any of these subjects! 


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Watching what's happening with the Avastin controversy in breast cancer makes me wonder what the prospects are that FDA will ultimately decline to approve Yervoy (as I guess ipi is being called now) for advanced melanoma. What's the speculation? The astronomical prices for cancer drugs is bound for a head-on collision with Obamacare.

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Replies by: Janner, lhaley

Hi all,

I am just looking for some thoughts about an issue that has just come up today for me.  I was diagnosed with melanoma recently (0.82, Clarkes IV, mitotic rate<1, no ulceration, no regression, brisk lymphocytes) on my lower foot not that far from my toes and had a WLE with skin graft and SLNB which came back clear thank goodness.  I have been sitting still for almost three weeks now which has been very hard on me and my family as I have a two and a half year old and a 3 month old baby.  The graft still hasn't healed all that well.

Today in a clinic appointment with a resident/registrar (the surgeon is on holiday still) I realised that the circular dent in my foot is actually not around where the mole was, but around half a cm out and up toward my thigh, rather than down toward my toes.  This means that rather than a 1cm margin from the edge of the melanoma it is more like 0.5cm as far as I can tell.  This seems to have come about because of the way the dermatologist had left the scar.  She did take a photo but I am not sure if it will show where it is located on the foot or if it is just of the melanoma itself.  The margins on the tumour were clear with the initial biopsy and there was nothing further in the WLE tissue on microscopy/staining. 

I can not quite believe this is happening and I have only just realised this.  I am also very concerned that it looks like the depth of the excision only goes down to the fat layer rather than fascia (the district nurses dressing my foot daily also think this).  Obviously this will all need to be discussed with the surgeon when he comes back but I am anxious to try and figure out what to do as I need to get it done asap if I need to go back to theatre.

Any comments would be really welcomed, I am finding this whole thing unbelievably difficult to digest and what this means for me and my family.

Thank you.

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