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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I am so new to this. I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with Malignant Melanoma In Situ.. The Surgeon went in and did another excision to get clear tissue. The original tumor size was 6mm x 8mm.  He told me no further treatment would be done.. Everything I have read so far is that is a big size that most In Situ are less than 1 mm... I have searched every site high and low... Does anyone have any insight? I lost my cousin a few years ago to Melanoma at age 32, this has me scared =(  Thank you!!

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mom3girlsFL's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 3/22/2011 - 11:10am

First let me say thanks for the congrats on my NED!  I am thrilled and will certainly be planning a summer trip with my family.

Second, do I go about saying this?  Shame on you for your blog about your insurance company finding a more cost effective route for your radiation treatments by sending you to the crew in Japan!!!  Now, having said that, thanks for making me snort coffee out my nose and all over my keyboard when I laughed out loud at the comment!  Shame on us both!

Now, about the music.  I feel honored, never had a song written in my honor before!  I don't know if you are up to challenge though.  Let me explain...I have learned,  while reading your blog and your musical choices,  that we are either separated by a "few" years or have, clearly, different opinions on music.  Don't get me wrong (don't want to blow my chances of getting a song!) - I can certainly appreciate your talent but would love to see what you can do with the "Bee Gees", "Maroon 5", "Journey" - oh screw it, I don't know...just do your thing, I'm sure I'll love it!

Seriously though, keep on blogging - you got me through a very anxious week!


Do not fear tomorrow, God is already there.

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Replies by: Rydell

This is a good article on Ipi

An excerpt from the article:


When chemotherapy works in advanced melanoma, it works quickly: A scan obtained after 6-8 weeks of therapy will show stability or shrinkage. That sort of response can also be seen with ipilimumab – but in addition, two novel patterns of response have been observed. One involves an initial increase in total tumor volume at the beginning of therapy, followed by delayed onset of stabilization or shrinkage.

Even more strikingly, some patients develop entirely new sites of metastatic disease when ipilimumab is started, with stabilization or shrinkage of both the new lesions and the baseline lesions coming several months later, according to Dr. Carvajal.

Our experience with melanoma:

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Melanoma Mom's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 3/17/2011 - 4:12pm

"Unremarkable PET CT examination from vertex to the skull through the lower extremities. No malignancy detected."

Oh yeah, we're doin' the cancer-free happy dance! The PET scan for our son was clear and while we are still waiting for the CT results, I am going with the assumption that it will be more great news.  Bloodwork is also perfect and hardly shows any effects from the continued Interferon therapy. Next up: routine check-up at Dana-Farber in April, as we haven't been there since December.

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himynameiskevin's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 3/17/2011 - 10:34am

Well' I'm here again for my monthly scans. Flew in last night. I've got about an hour before my brain MRI and CTscan, so thought I'd come up to the library and say hello. Not much new to update on. Still just working a bit, staying busy and enjoying the free time. Still optimistic... but a little anxious about these results, we'll see what they reveal. I talk to the doctors tomorrow and hopefully fly home soon after that. If I get some good news, I'll let you all know soon as I can. I hope everyone is doing ok. I'll talk to you soon.

(fingers crossed)

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Well' I'm here again for my monthly scans. Flew in last night. I've got about an hour before my brain MRI and CTscan, so thought I'd come up to the library and say hello. Not much new to update on. Still just working a bit, staying busy and enjoying the free time. Still optimistic... but a little anxious about these results, we'll see what they reveal. I talk to the doctors tomorrow and hopefully fly home soon after that. If I get some good news, I'll let you all know soon as I can. I hope everyone is doing ok. I'll talk to you soon.

(fingers crossed)

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Ali's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 3/17/2011 - 6:17am
Replies by: FormerCaregiver, KatyWI

I was stage IIIb 4 years ago.  Did 9 months of interferon.  I had one in transit met removed from my leg and they found another in my thigh during a PET scan.  Biopsy confirmed melanoma.  ILI and ILP have been ruled out as possibilites because the tumor is too high up in the thigh.  I have seen many Dr.s, and the surgeons here are recommending the OncoVex trial.  I am a little worried about getting the GM-CSF arm.  Any thoughts on that?  It seems like from what I read some people have the tumor taken out and then get the GM-CSF injections, but is it normal too to take them with a tumor that has not been excised? 

I am 32 with three kids, my treatment goal is a cure. I would do whatever it takes.

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gabsound's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 5/16/2011 - 8:54pm

Hi, I live in las Vegas and was recently diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma (thick lesion with ulceration, 1 positive node). About 5 years ago I had a basal cell cancer on my upper back and have had quite a few atypical moles removed that were moderate to severe dyplasia. My melanoma started as a pink lesion on my leg inside the knee region. Two different PA's from different Dermatology practices saw it and were not impressed. Finally I kept pestering with "what is this" and the edge got frozen because it was getting crusty like an actinic keratosis. At first it got smaller and peeled, but later started bleeding after I picked at it and it never healed. Biopsy came back melanoma.My PA thought was going to be a squamous Cell so did a shave bx (i;ve read that was not good). About 3 weeks ago I had a wide local incision and sentinel lymph node bx. Unfortunately sentinel node was positive with micrometastasis and woke up from surgery with rest of lymph nodes in the groin removed (I knew this was a possibility). I'm healing up fairly well and have tried going back to work part time this week,

My blood work LDH is normal. I am awaiting results of my PET scan. Prior to pet scan I met with my oncologist, who said treatment for pt's like myself, fall in a "grey area". He said the interferon treatments are falling out of favor and said he was recommending a watch and wait for now. He is also checking with an associate who does more melanoma research (dr. Samlowski) to see if there are amy clincal trials I should be in.

In doing research, I see for stage 3 adjunct therapy MAY be offered. Initially I was relieved thinking I could just get back to my life, but find myself doing more research and wondering if that is the wisest choice. The statistics for this cancer are pretty grim. The oncologist said interferon " is like having the flu for a year"-I don't know that I could handle that. Also, from what I have read it doesn't sound like it improves the overall survival rate, but delays return by about 7 months. So you kinda lose a year up front to get some time later-this sounds like kind of a wash.


I'm wondering if any other stage 3 patients can comment on if they were given the watch and wait choice and what you decided to do and why.

Also please feel free to correct me if my understanding of what I've heard and read so far, appears wrong.

Sorry if I rambled a bit. It is such a relief to find this site and read these posts from people going through exactly what you are!!

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LynnLuc's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 3/16/2011 - 11:46am
Replies by: KellieSue

Well I had my latest scans on Friday...The news was not good. There is a new mass on my right lung that is pressing on my trachea. This causes me much pain, shortness of breath and coughing.

I was on a Braf-Mek inhibitor clinical trial, however, I was having terrible side effects, mainly daily fevers. I was immediately taken off this trial Friday. Then given 2 blood transfusions since my hemoglobin continues to be very low.

Now we have 2 options....We wait 28 days to start Ipiluminab "Ipi" or if the pain increase they may have to radiate the tumor sooner.
The other option, if approved, is much more complex. Tomorrow the doctors will meet to discuss my developments and see if surgery is at all possible. If so, they will harvest some of the tumor and make an injection and give it to me along with IL-2 and chemo. This will definitely be the tougher route. 

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KellieSue's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 3/15/2011 - 9:36pm
Replies by: dawn dion

Still feeling good. Had a ECHO/EKG today and about 9 vials of blood drawn today. Yikes!

My thyroid tumor seems to have disappeared! It was stable and even shrunk a bit with the 2 doses of ALT and IL-2 but it was still sticking around on my neck. But I can't feel or see it anymore!

Everything looks good, I'll have my first CT in about 4-5 weeks. I'm very antsy, hoping the scan shows how good I'm feeling!

I did start on dicyclen(sp)  for facial rash, I don't have one yet but it's probably coming so they want to try and stop it in it's tracks.

Also another weird thing, I was given a bottle with 32 pills 3 weeks ago so I only took  20 pills up to today but I had to turn my pill bottle in and I got another one with 32 pills in it. Weird right? You would think with what this stuff costs they would want to use it all up before they gave me another bottle. Oh well, I'll do what they tell me. :)

Dr is very happy with how I look and feel!

Kellie(From Iowa) Stage IV on B-RAF

Cancer Sucks. I'm so not done kicking cancers ass! I have a lot of life left to live

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mom3girlsFL's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 3/16/2011 - 3:22am

Got the news today - CT abdomen/pelvis and chest xray all clean!  Whoo-hoo!  Oh yeah, doing the happy dance!

:) Laurie

Do not fear tomorrow, God is already there.

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lhaley's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 3/15/2011 - 9:30pm

I had 5 nodes removed in October that were under the collar bone. They went in on the side of the breast to get to the area.  In Dec. my breast started turning pink. I went to my gyn and she put me on an antibiotic, she wanted me to go back and see my surgeon. I called him and from the description he wanted to wait to see if the antibiotic helped ,(I have to travel to see him) everyone was thinking mastitiis.  It started to get lighter then 2 weeks later it was back. Happened to be at family Dr. and she put me on another antibiotic. I called surgeon again and he wanted me to see a infectious disease Dr. Found out I needed a referral. Went to local oncologist and she agreed but had me use warm compresses and massage and said to come back the next day to see if it helped. It did get lighter but in the meanwhile my liver counts were checked and were extremly high so that had to be dealt with. It was a drug interaction from the antibiotics and my cholesteral meds. Referral was never made.

It was now time for me to go to Charlotte to see Dr Amin (mel specialist). He took one look at the breast and went and got Dr. White (my surgeon who also specializes in breasts and mel). He ordered a diagnostic mammo and ultrasound.  This was done at home. Results were inconclusive with them seeing changes of thickening of the skin and wanted punch biopsies to exclude inflamatory breast cancer. In the meanwhile I've seen both my family Dr. again and my local oncologist. So off to the derm I go today. It was red when I walked in and by the time he sterelized the area and marked what he wanted to do the area had faded somewhat!  He then decided that a punch biopsy would be looking for a needle in a haystack since the pinkness was so evenly distributed over the entire breast.  He suggested a breast specialist he knew in the next town. Came home and called and ...... she has retired. 

I am so confused!  Here I am stable with stage IV mel (watching 2 nodules in lungs), my mel has always been a bit different with it presenting twice in the bladder. I'm sorry this is so long but if you are still following could this be a result of the nodes being removed?  A few Drs. have speculated that there could have been damage to the lymphatic pathway but they just don't know.  I can live with a pink breast (it does not hurt) but if it is a form of breast cancer then I have to take action.  When I had massive reconstruction on the other breast from surgery with mel I did not have this discoloration issue.

Any help would be appreciated,


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was888's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 3/24/2011 - 12:22pm
Replies by: ShariC, Sharyn, was888, Fen, lhaley

Hello everyone,

My father was recently diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma.  This is the second time around for him with Melanoma.  2 1/2 years ago he received a diagnosis of Stage III melanoma.  He had the nodes removed from his neck and began Interfuron and Radiation.  He was unfortunately not able to finish the Interfuron because of what it was doing to his health.  He is now 66 years old.

Last week he had his 3 month PET Scan and unfortunately this scan lit up.  They state they see 30-40 nodes of concern located throughout his body.  On Friday of last week he had a biopsy done on nodes below his arm pit on the left side.  They ended up taking out 4 golf ball sized nodes and did a biopsy in the surgery room and they all came back as positive for melanoma.  We should get his final biopsy results back today, however the doctor's stated that based upon the initial results they feel everything on the PET scan is now linked to melanoma.

I am reaching out to this board to possibly help give some guidance on the most current and up to date treatment options available.  My father is willing to travel, and is ready to fight this horrid cancer.  We are meeting with his oncologist on Thursday to determine his recommendations of treatment after he is able to review the final biopsy reports.

I had a good friend who passed away from Stage IV melanoma last year, so I am somewhat knowledgeable about the treatments and procedures, but know this board is full of people who can help provide more details on these treatments.

Thank you all in advance for any info you are willing to share.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 3/16/2011 - 3:20am
Replies by: MRFUser2011, KatyWI, ShariC, lhaley, Anonymous, MichaelFL

Hi Evveryone,


I am scheduled for my first brain MRI with & without contrast. I want to get the best pictures so can anyone tell me how to prepare for a MRI brain scan. Do I need to fast?


Thanks foryour reply.




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