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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Carmon in NM's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 6:47pm

I'm finally having surgery at UNM in Albuquerque tomorrow to remove my right adrenal gland and what is left of the tumor tissue after completing the clinical drug trial. Hopefully, with a little Grace this will be the end of treatment for a while and after six months of chemo I can enjoy the summer! Even though this will be the most serious surgery I've ever had, I'm looking forward to finally getting it done. They will be opening me down my mid-line so I have a six week recovery of doing NOTHING! My husband figures they will have to duct tape me to my recliner to keep me quiet. ;)

I had a pre-surgery brain MRI and full body PET and CT scans last Wednesday and I'll get the results today when I meet with my onc and surgeon. Hopefully it will remain good news with nothing new and that darned adrenal tumor too tiny to even show now! I'll be thinking of you all while I'm in the hospital and hoping everyone is well. I'll post when I can!

Carmon in NM - Stage 3b Sep 2008, Stage IV June 2010 with brain and adrenal mets.

Carmon in NM: Stage IIIB 9/2008; Stage IV 6/2010 with brain and adrenal mets; NED since 4/13/2011. It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. ~ Epictetus

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Sunny Sea's picture
Replies 25
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 6:12pm

Hi Everyone. 

I'm so glad to have found this site.  This is so overwhelming.....the people around me who seem to actually "get" how serious this is are few and far between.  Most telling me "dont worry" ....yeah right.   The complete loss of control over my future .....I mean, from now on, this *thing* is a central component of my existence.   I can never "not worry" that it will come back.....someplace.   And now, every little ache or pain i have is the cancer spreading.  I feel like i'm losing my mind.  And I'm kicking myself for pulling a wait-and-see approach when i noticed the thing changing about a year ago.  All i'd ever known about skin cancer was basal cell or squamous cell.....(cut it off, it's gone) so i didnt feel any urgency about getting it checked.  The fact that skin cancer can kill....I was so clueless.    ---and i'm a freaking RN, you'd think i might have known better. 

I know it all comes down to reports and results.  This is my biopsy report.  I had one mole taken from my back that my dermatologist found (it was atypical) and then the one on my wrist which was melanoma. 

     A.  Skin, right upper back, punch biopsy:
     B.  Skin, right forearm, excision:
            - CLARK'S LEVEL:  IV
            - DEPTH OF INVASION:  1.0 MM
            - NO ULCERATION
            - NO REGRESSION
     Dr. Buckley, Dr. Frazier has also reviewed specimen B and concurs with the interpretation of spindle cell melanoma.
41 y/o caucasian female
A) irregularly shaped dark brown macule.  R/O atypia
B) irregularly shaped multiclored macule with dark brown center.  Nevus. R/O melanoma in situ.
    A.    Labeld with the patient name and "right upper back".  A pigmented skin punch measuring 0.8 cm in diameter and 0.5 cm in length.  Bisected.
    B.    Labeled with the patient name and "right forearm".  A skin ellpse 1.4 x 1.0 x 0.4 cm  No orienting marks are identified.  Inked, breadloafed, and submitted in one cassette. 
    A.    An asymmetric lentiginous proliferation of melanocytes in variably sized nests as well as individually at the tips and alongside rete pegs with extension into the dermis, highlighted by immunohistochemical stains for pan-melanocyte antigens, controls appropriate.  Broad zones of confluent melanocyte proliferation along the junction extending beyond three rete ridges in width or significant upward pagetoid migration are not observed.  There is a variable host fibroinflammatory reaction including melanophages.   Mild degrees of melanocytic atypia are identified.  The biopsy margins appear clear in the plane of section. 
   B.     Sections show broad, irregularly-nested and solitary atypical junctional melanocytes overlying sun-damaged skin.  Dermal cells are spindled with superficial mitotic figures identified.  There is no perineural or angiolymphatic space invasion identified.  The pan melanocytic marker highlights the spindled dermal melanocytes within the reticular dermis measuring to 1.0 millimeter.  There is no ulceration or regression.  Tumor infiltrating lymphocytes is absent.  A Ki-67 proliferating marker shows low proliferative activity of the dermal melanocytes.  An HMB-45 immunoperoxidase stain shows weak positive staining of the dermal spindled cells.  A pHH3 mitotic stain highlights a rare dermal mitosis.   The margins are clear of both melanoma in situ and invasive melanoma. 

So, I had the initial biopsy in mid-February, they got the results a week later and referred me to a surgical oncologist.  The soonest appointment was March 1.  He in turn set me up for a WE and SNB which will be done this Thursday (3/31).  So, about 2 months have gone by since this thing was removed.....could it have been spreading or causing more problems while i'm sitting here WAITING...(the waiting is horrible).  

If the WE removes all the tissue from around the site, HOW can the thing come back in the same area??   Can the still leave "stray" cells behind even when they're removing so much surrounding skin?   If it does come back, will it show up on the surface of the skin or just pop up in some random place in my body?   Could it not already BE somewhere else?  Is there a reason why they wouldnt have done a PET scan yet?  Wouldnt that be a logical step to take while we're waiting for the surgery date?   Ok, as you can see....i'm overthinking this and driving myself nuts.   I try to remember to take one day, one moment, one step at a time.   That's much easier said than done.  

Thank God for all of you and the courage that you have to be on here, helping us "newbies" while continuing your own fight.   I'm sure the "freak-out" factor must get old after a while but i know that if anyone can understand it, it is those of you who have been here before.   Any help or guidance you can give would be appreciated.  

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Janner's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 5:53pm

In April 1992, I was diagnosed with a .58mm lesion.  (Stage IB under today's staging system).  Pre-internet days and no books on melanoma at my library.  It was incredibly difficult to find anything in print, and what was written was incredibly negative.  Mostly geared toward higher stages and low survival rates.  The internet and sites like this have become an incredible tool if you don't let them freak you out.  19 years later (and with 2 more primaries in 2000 and 2001), I'm still stage IB.

This place can be scary for the newly diagnosed - especially those who are early stage.  Most stage 0 or 1's move on and don't stay to post here as their anxiety wanes.  So I'm posting as one of those long time stage I people who is still stage I after MANY years.  Heck, it's hard to remember my life without melanoma.

Best wishes to all,



1992 - ..58mm, Clark Level II, 1 mitosis

2000 - in situ

2001 - .88mm, Clark Level III, 1 mitosis

Tested positive for melanoma genetic defect, CDKN2A

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claudia-uk's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 5:47pm

My husband received his second infusion last Friday. He now has very itchy skin on the legs and arms, but it doesn;t show any rash. I often read that a rash is a good sign that Ipi works.But what about  itchy skin without a rash?

We are waiting not for sigsn that Ipi starts working but are not sure if that is a sign or unrelated.

Besides that he is very tired, but was tired before Ipi anyway.

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Erinmay22's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 5:31pm

I am hoping to get in a braf trial (if they can ever finally get my tissue sampled...) and was curious what folks are experiencing for side effects?

I was confirmed stage 4 in march with mets to the lungs. Having brain MRI and ct scans done on Tuesday. Let the scanxiety begin!

My boss has been asking me if I will have any restrictions. I haven't really taken any time off of work thru all this, but find it harder and harder to concentrate lately at work. Plus I do a fair amount of traveling every now and then and worry that flying and not sleeping well isn't great for my immune system while on these treatments and drugs. When not traveling I am just at an office type job all day so it's not too hard on the body.

just curious how folks handle their jobs and melanoma stress! Somedays are easier than others! "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel' Maya Angelou

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Charlie S's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 5:28pm

Come one and come all to chat.  Stage I to Stage IV most welcome.  

All cyber drinks are free and frequent.

Bitch, whine or moan are welcome as are the magic and wisdom  of tomorrow.

Be there. You will be glad you did.

Tuesday, April 19, 7-9 EST

Charlie S

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Hi, everyone, 

Brent is my husband and we are sitting at MD anderson as I write.  He has been on the GSK MEK trial for 14 months and progressed last scan.  Now he doctors want to place him on the MEK chemo combination with Alimta which is approved for lung cancer.  Or we can wait for the MEK /PI3k trial to open sometime in the future here at MDA.  Today after making a few calls to GSK  I found that a Nashville location has the trial we want MEK / PI3K.  Not sure if he can get in.   I don't know what to do or think.  He has had chemo agents in the past and they really knock the Hell out of him physically. 

Does anyone have any input???

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


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awg's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 1:02pm
Replies by: joy_, awg, Fen

Stage 3a Melanoma w/1 positive Superficial pelvic node, deep node was negative.

My plan consists of Superficial Node Dissection (open method) and 12months Interferon.

I am seeing studies and reports where the superficial pelvic lymph node dissection is being performed using robotic assistance via a small incision on the top of the upper thigh.

I am looking  for information on facilities that offer this method as well as form feedback from anyone who have had robotic assisted dissection.

I am also interested in hearing from open method pelvic dissection recipients on how the recovery went, lymph edema and the best method to manage the edema.


Thank you,


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 27
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 12:53pm

On Friday I joined your ranks. Last summer, I noticed a mole that had grown up, like a skin tag. I didn't like it but waited until my annual physical to ask my family doctor who thought it was nothing. I was seeing a dermatologist for other skin issues so I asked my dermatologist. She didn't think it was anything. When I was back for another treatment of the other skin issue I asked to have it removed for cosmetic reasons which happened on March 25th. Mar 31 I get called backed. The pathologist grapped my dermatologist in the hall to say that the benign lesion was melanoma. I met with my dermatologist on Apr 1. She didn't have the pathology report yet but told me that it was 1.45 mm and level iv. She had already requested blood work (for LDH), CT-scan and SNIB. Meeting with surgeon is tomorrow and CT is Thursday evening.

Like many who are newly diagnosed, I'm scared but I'm trying to manage my emotions until the facts are in. Anyone in Ottawa with melanoma treatment experience?

Be Not Afraid-God is with you always Stage IIIa

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ValinMtl's picture
Replies 0

Hi Donna,

I'm having trouble getting that leg garment in Canada that we discussed.  I did call one store in Burlington but they never called me back (her name was Meg).  Do you have the phone number of the store that you ordered it at.  Many thanks, Val

Live Laugh Love Nothing is worth more than this day!

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Nad T's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/18/2011 - 7:32am

Oh man, am I on the main board?  Being a Melanma push I am now a stroke push.

Understand the symptons - Respoind.

My arms are purple.

Now can I have my son back?

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mrsmarilyn's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 4/17/2011 - 8:17pm

Hello Everyone.  My brother Gary going to SC in Nashville has been on the MEK/BRAF combo for about 2 months and is having frequent bouts of high fever and nausea.  He was on the Braf (GSK) initially and they moved him over to the combo - after the BRAF stopped working.  We were wondering if anyone else is having any similiar side effects, and how eveyone on this trial is doing.  On a good note-he has went from 7 spots - to only one stubborn one in the pelvic area.  Thanks and hope to hear from this oustanding group of brave people, we have grown to love and depend on.

Best regards,


Sister of Gary Stage IV

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mike_nj's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/17/2011 - 8:00pm

Closing in on my 7 year point after the stage 3B  diagnosis.  Yesterday's X-Ray of chest looks clear from report and next week I visit to UPMC for followup.  As far as I know I am NED.

Wanted to post to share some hope with my fellow patients as they await scans and X-Rays and other tests

Still taking my assortment of supplements.

All the best to all patients and caregivers

Mike from NJ

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Hi, i wanted to share this UTUBE video of Pulse Technique:


Helpful for healing and clearing energy

don't back up, don't back down

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boot2aboot's picture
Replies 29
Last reply 4/17/2011 - 1:21pm

i am BRCA2+ so i already have gynocological cancer armpit was sore for awhile and i thought i pulled a muscle...imagine my surprise when i found a HUGH lump...i called my ONC and she did a core and FNB along with an abdominal CT, Bone Scan and took the pathologist a really long time to find out what type of cancer it was....i think my doc and i were shocked when i ended up with a melanoma diagnosis....we were expecting breast or ovarian...i know nothing about melanoma, where the primary site is or anything...i am sitting here all alone scared and with lots of questions...she got me an appt with a melanoma onc...i go see her wednesday....but i am in complete shock...and the only indicator that i had melanoma is a hugh tumor in my lymph node.....

don't back up, don't back down

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