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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jennunicorn's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 4/14/2016 - 12:01pm
Replies by: jennunicorn, Tamlin

This has been an eventful day in the SF Bay Area for immunotherapy news... so I had to share this too

I honestly feel incredibly grateful every day that I live so close to such a great research hospital, UCSF has been so wonderful (after some not so  great experiences elsewhere).

And now to read they have a whole immunotherapy program and clinic that will help more than just melanoma patients live their lives after their diagnosis. So awesome! Highly recommend anyone on the West Coast to check out UCSF if they need a good place for clinical trials, treatment, or just second opinions.

Jenn - Stage IIIB  (currently doing Ipi [Yervoy] adjuvant treatment)

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Edwilcox's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 4/14/2016 - 10:48am
Replies by: Jewel, swissie, Anonymous, Bubbles, Janner

I was diagnosed with stage IIIA melanoma last September. I go in for CAT scans every 3 months and so far everything is no-evidence-of-disease. Before the melanome hit me, I had a bad knee, it's only gotten worse. Will having it replaced change the odds of melanoma recurrance?

Thank you

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jennunicorn's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 9:47pm

Just saw this and got pretty excited since this awesome news is happening in my own backyard. I love when super wealthy people put their money in the right places! :)


Jenn - Stage IIIB  (currently doing Ipi [Yervoy] adjuvant treatment)

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Sukibear's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 5:34pm
Replies by: Sukibear, Janner, Kim K

Hi,  everyone. I'm new and just received news that my biopsy revealed that my mole was, in fact melanoma - stage 2. It's on the back of my left arm. It was a newer mole...maybe 8 years ago I noticed it. But, in December I woke up with it itching and swollen. (And the parameters were lighter brown and spreader out beyond the black raised mole, but not the size of a pencil eraser )The itching was maddening! ...even waking me up. Because it was a mole, I was afraid to scratch it. So, I left it alone. It took me till two weeks ago (3months) to be seen by the dermatologist from my referring doc. They did a biopsy..but I saw three dark dots left behind in the hole. I tried to stay optimistic, thinking that it was just part of a normal mole left behind. I was wrong. 

I got the news today and they want me in for the excision on Monday. I'm glad it's  fast-- I want this thing out of me! I have a couple of questions..If they cut into the cancer during the biopsy, can those cells travel into my bloodstream? (They left a portion of the nevus behind) And what happens next? After surgery...what is my followup? What is the prognosis? 

Thanks to you all for your help, advice, stories,  etc. I'm just in a daze I think right now.  I me very thought it would happen to me...

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Patrisa's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 5:18pm
Replies by: Scooby123, Patrisa, BrianP

Hello everybody!


I was just wondering how does one know if the tumor burden is high/low?

My fathers oncologyst doesn t use that terminology, so i m not sure where does he stand...

He has a melanoma on his back and some in his lungs (we don˙t know how many of them, because all his reports state just mets in the lungs... is that high or low?

He s  currently on keytruda and has no side effects, first pet scan is scheduled for may.....


Thank you very much for  the info....





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Sfern5's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 4:12pm
Replies by: cheris, Sfern5, pookerpb, Bubbles, Anonymous

 Does anybody have any information about difficulty with a cough/coughing up blood And  endless " bronchitis" while on Keytruda?

 They postponed a couple of my treatments to put me through pulmonary exams and cardio exams and came to the conclusion I have bronchitis not pneumonitis which would be a side effect of the immunotherapy.    But it won't go away. It's been about 2 1/2 months of and was coughing and pain in my lungs. My tumors are gone but I'm exhausted. We've tried all kinds of  decongestants, steroids and whatnot. Nothing's working. Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

Cancer, Schmancer.

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Marie with 4 boys's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 9:48am

I'm wondering what you all have found useful in helping your kids deal with your diagnosis. I'm especially interested in young children. My 3yo has no clue (which is fine with me), my 9yo is pretty OK with things, but my 5 and 7 yo are having the toughest time. Fortunately, my diagnosis is good, just lots of surgery ahead, but I'd still like ideas if you have them. Thanks.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 4/13/2016 - 6:05am

I am starting Pembrolizumab next Monday.  I have a list of possible side effects, but I was wondering when they started?  I have two toddlers and am trying to figure out if I will need help the days following treatment.  Thank you so much for any answers or advice.

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GeminiBird's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 4/12/2016 - 5:01pm
Replies by: ashley_k, jennunicorn

I was diagnosed with melanoma in situ on the separate occasions and in 3 different areas. All the research I've done and info I've read point to certain risk factors including family history, severe sunburns, extensive sun exposure, fair skin, red hair, etc. I have dark hair, medium complexion, never tanned in the sun or tanning beds, no serious sunburns, and NO family history on either side. Anyone have a similar story and what have you learned about this?

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Marie with 4 boys's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 4/12/2016 - 4:50pm
Replies by: ashley_k, jennunicorn

I had my WLE a week and a half ago (biopsy said in situ), and had my return with the surgeon today. We discussed pathology report. Good news - it was all in situ (biopsy said extended to the margins). Bad news, the in situ extends microfocally to the tips and lateral margins. This is in a giant congenital nevus that is fragmented like a large freckle/mole area on my arm. So, I'm now to see a mohs surgeon and a plastic surgeon to discuss my options. My surgical oncologist (who only deals with melanoma), thought the entire nevus will most likely need to be removed, and skin grafts done. The nevus is huge - covers from elbow to shoulder and half way around my arm (appx 11 in x 5 in). Anyone here had large areas removed and skin grafts? Or any other thoughts for me? Thanks so much.

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I thought some of my LA mel friends would be interested in attending this symposium that AIM at Melanoma & The Angeles Clinic are hosting.  Lots of awesome docs and topics!



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Mat's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 4/12/2016 - 10:47am

So I had my first scans since I started on the ipi-nivo combo in January.  I received the first 3 combined infusions, but then had diarrhea that required the use of prednisone to get it under control.  Out of an abundance of caution, we paused the fourth combined infusion and I moved into the nivo-only portion of the treatment (had my first nivo-only infusion the same day as my scans).  I'm now 11 weeks into the treatment.  My scans were stable--nothing new and no change in my existing tumor burden (which is considered relatively low--but could always be lower!).  I was hoping for better (and continue to hope for better), but I'll certainly take it.  I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to even try this treatment (which was only FDA approved shortly before I started).  In the meantime, my kids--who were 4 and 2 months at the time of my Stage IV diagnosis in 2013--will be 7 and 3 in a few weeks.  While I would love to get this melanoma monkey off of my back, I'm grateful for each day.

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JohnA's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 4/12/2016 - 1:50am
Replies by: DZnDef, Maria C, jade1111, JohnA, Anonymous, Mat, Ed Williams, MoiraM

My wife was diagnosed with anal mucosal melanoma in 2014, post-surgery did cisplatin+temodar as adjuvant therapy based on the results from a Phase II trial in China.  The chemo regimen was very hard on her health; she's in her late 40's. 15 months later she's gotMETs in lungs, liver, and bone. We have a elementary-school aged son.

She's c-kit+ so now we're likely faced with options to Imatinib (Gleevac), or Ipi plus Nivo.  One possible scenario is to try Imatinib first and see if the tumors respond, since side effects are supposedly less intense than ipi/nivo. Progress to ipi/nivo if and when its necessary.

The doc says if untreated, she might have 6-8 months left. So, after a really hard 6 rounds of chemo last year, she's justifiably wondering if she should try a naturopathic remedy instead.  The logis is that if she does the combo and it does not work, it will likely make her sick and she'll ruin the final months of her life by being super sick from side-effects. 

She's always been a very healthy eater, but has for 9 months now been extremely strict on diet - very little meat, no dairy, no alcohol, lots of green veggies, juices, etc - , exercise, rest, meditation, acupuncture, massage, sound healing, and other stuff like this.  She worked with Dr. Block in Chicago and he gave her a diet, exercise routine, and supplements, which she's mostly done all of done for 6-9 mos.

We're still exploring options, but it's quite possible she does a drug therapy plus some naturopathic regimen.

So, 3 questions for you:

1) I looked back through the archives and did not find many suggestions for naturopaths or maaster nutritionists - does anyone have any?

2) any advice on the drug options - imatinib vs ipi/nivo? and anyone who did cisplatin and ipi/nivo, any comparison between side effects for these?

3) does anyone else have a similar quandry about trying a treatment that could make you sick for your remaining days? How can I best help her through this?

Thanks for your help!

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laulamb's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 4/11/2016 - 11:06pm
Replies by: Janner, Mark_DC, SamS, Teej, Anonymous, Marie with 4 boys

I am having a WLE and SNB done on Thursday.  Could someone please let me know what I can expect as far as recovery time?  I'm assuming I would be able to be back to work on Monday.  I work at a desk. 

Thanks so much and prayers for not spreading to lymph nodes are greatly appreciated.  


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Hikeratheart's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 4/11/2016 - 7:36pm
Replies by: Janner

Hi all, 

I saw my Derm about two suspicious spots , one a blister on my toe, and another, spot on the inside of another toe. I am happy I went in, and the Derm confirmed, no reason to remove, but keep a watch on them. I do have an excellent Derm, who takes the time to do through checks. I also know I must be diligent. I have stage 2b and had a tumor surgectly removed last July.   My question: when getting life insurance do I need to report I have (had) cancer, or because it was removed, it shouldn't matter. I ask because my premium is higher until I am 1 or 2 years NED.   Thoughts?    Thanks  to all of you!

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