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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View Topic says a recent study.  I know sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) is a hot topic and difficult decision for those of you recently diagnosed.  I put up a post today that includes the abstract of this recent study, links to prior posts re the odds of having a positive sentinel node as well as another that addresses the murky recommendations for and against CLND (complete lymph node dissection).  SLND is done with the needed wide excision, while the CLND is done later IF that is what you decide to do and is a seperate, different,  procedure.

So if any of that interests you, here's the link:

Wishing you all my best.  celeste

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vickiaa0529's picture
Replies 0

Stage 4 

brain met at MDA

scared to death

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I had a thin melanoma removed in 2011, stage 1A, clear margins and follow ups with dermatologist. It came back earlier this year in my lymph node in the arm. Had SLND and 1 out of 7 lymph nodes were positive, but the 1 lymph node they are pretty sure were multiple lymph nodes matted together. I also had extracapsular extension. I am totally confused as I have two different Oncologist,  the hospital (a research hospital) where I have gotten my initial treatment and surgery and then my local oncologist for follow up. The hospital options given after surgery are s Clinical Trial, Interferon, or watch and wai, with no radiation. The hospital I went with for surgery did not offer Yervoy, as they feel the risk does not outweigh the results. My local Oncologist, is recommending Yervoy, but they wll only adminiser it at the 10mg dose, and  he is strongly recommending radiation. I traveled back to the hospital for a follow up from the surgery and advised of the local oncologist recommendation of radiation and he responded that it was my decision but in his opinion is not necessary due to it only lessens the chance of local recurrence in that one area and if it did come back there, they could again remove with surgery. He feels the complications with my arm from radiation may outweigh the results.

 I don't understand how every Dr. can have different opinions on treatments..

Any advice?

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 7:15am
Replies by: Capt jack, Patrisa

For those that have gotten a response from Keytruda, how long did it take for shrinkage of tumors?  I have in transit tumors and can feel them under the skin.  The area around the tumors turns red at times so I am assuming it is some type of inflammation.  Have any of you experienced redness of the skin around subcutaneous in transit melanoma tumors?  I am not sure if this is from Keytruda and is a good sign that it might be working or if it is common and something that happens in the lmphatic system when fluid is blocked by tumors.  It does not appear that the tumor has shrunk any after 2 infusions.  Thank you for any responses. Take care everyone.

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stevecathy's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 2:08pm
Replies by: stevecathy, Andrew1725

I am looking for thoughts?? Short version of my husbands journey. Diagnosis July 2015 , 3a . Originated on 4tg toe which was amputated. Lymph node disection 4 nodes positive 1mm or microscopic. Completed 4 infusions of yerovoy. Right after completing 4th dose , had 2 Mets in transit on thigh. So then ctca started mek/taf combo. He is still on mekinist and taflinar half dose since January. So far had 2mm and 5mm in lung , 5 mm gone in March 2mm still there June. Now last week's scan 2mm still same and reading states likely scar. With this we are over joyed with relief. Dr. Still want to continue combo. My mind wonders if he was responder to yerovoy as I read many have Mets in transit. So I have to wonder did ctca give enough time and is combo over kill. OK, this is not short , but my mind is always on overdrive. Just looking for thoughts. Thanks everyone

Cathy Jewell

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sadlerla's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 1:58am

I was recently diagnosed with melanoma, 1.03mm no ulceration, Clark level 4. Dr scheduled me for a wide excision and lymph node biopsy. I haven't had so much as a cold for well over 2 years and now this. Lymph nodes are not swollen. If this has spread would I necessarily have not felt good since it would be in my lymphatic system? Is this early stages? Any advice or words to calm my nerves are appreciated.

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Joycem's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 8/24/2016 - 11:07pm
Replies by: Joycem, Ed Williams

3 weeks after WLE and SNB for deep nodular melanoma on upper arm, (non pigmented, skin colored round bump, had it for years, undiagnosed)  I am feeling very lucky surprised and thankful that my lymph nodes were clear, but still nervous about what's next...

Youngest son starting senior year, Two 90+ family members with dementia who rely on me, 2 older kid$ in college make me hesitant to start any treatments that would make me unable to keep up with my responsibilities, or lose income by missing work (part time so no sick pay or vacation) . 

Appt. with melanoma specialist (Henry Koon, Cleveland UH) is next week. 

Not feeling interferon. Leaning toward watch and wait. I have always been an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" type, but that kinda didn't work out that well with regards to my bump. looks interesting but so much I don't understand. Is it appropriate to ask specialist about this? Not even sure what questions I should ask. Concern that it is phase 1 and a Japanese company with only one other product in development. 

Blessings and thanks to all of you wonderful knowledge sharers and encouragers who post here. So helpful. Praying for you as well. 



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landlover's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/24/2016 - 10:04pm
Replies by: Prd10, landlover, Kim K

Soooo... back from the wonderful wedding of my daughter and back to dealing with M.  

I had a CT at the beginning of August which showed my previous 2 lung nodules had grown and I have a new one.  There were two present on my first CT scan in April prior to my CLND left neck.  I had been all ready to enroll in a clinical trial as stage 3C (pembro vs hi dose interferon or ipi) but due to the changes in the lung nodules I am now ineligible. 

My oncologist confered with the interventional radiologist and the IR doctor said that they could not safely do a needle biopsy because of the small size  (largest is 8mm) and location near to my diaphragm.  They want to wait 2 more months and re-CT and go from there, even though they agree this is most likely metastisis.

I have trouble accepting this plan.  I have asked about a VATs but they declined stating the invasive nature, also I asked why not just start treatment and assume this is melanoma but they will not do it without proof via biopsy.  So this puts me in the uncomfortable position of being probably stage 4 but not being able to get treatment and not being able to do a stage 3 clinical trial.

Just wondering if others have gone down this road and how it turned out for you?  I am tempted to "insist" on VATs but am not sure that they will do it even if I do.  

Thanks and wishing the best for all-


Stage 3C, primary on neck, neck dissection May 2016.

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Replies by: keepthefaith11

Hi all - I'm new here so forgive me if a question similar to this has been posed to the community before. When it comes to a mole that's been classified as Compound Melanocytic Nevus (Dysplatic - Mild), what is the best path on which to move forward?

For the past couple years, I've introduced annual body scans into my health checkups -- Although 25 years old, I've abused my skin with sun and tanning beds more than I care to admit. During my most recent body scan, my new derm did a topical removal of a mole on my upper back. My previous derm would do full excisions (2 lower back). I was initially put off when the new doc charged more for this removal even without the cost of pathology than the previous derm - so I considered not returning to her next year regardless.

However, I got a call stating the mole was found to be atypical with the above CMN diagnosis listed on the path report. When I showed up for the appointment, they let me know it'd be a hefty amount to down-pay for the procedure, followed by more upon testing...all of which, again, caused some discomfort. Even though they are in my insurance network, it just baffles me that it would cost so much.

All of that to say, I didn't go through with the removal. I plan to go back to my old derm next year (June-July), and am curious if it would be wise to wait until then to discuss the possibility of excising this spot...or is this something I should address now? Also, I'm curious if he'll even be able to find the location (assuming he can go by my own direction and presence of scar tissue).

Any advice on what to do would be appreciated!

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waynec's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 10:11am

Hello all,

One thing that was frustrating to me early after my diagnosis was the lack of melanoma-specific support groups.  So my wife and I were trained by MRF recently and we are starting one in our town, Alexandria VA.

We intend to have both sharing and peer support, and also regular topical programs/presentations.  

Here's my question:  If you've attended a group where there was a program or presentation, what topics did you find valuable/inspirational/fun/useful?  

We've been working on a list, but I wanted to see what the community wisdom could contribute. 

Our list includes:  Physical health/fitness, eating right, mindfullness/meditation, spirituality, advances in detection and treatment, state of the immunotherapy universe, caring for the caregiver, advocacy, and others. 

What have you attended that really left an impression with you? 




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slh4448's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 10:21am

Hey everyone,

i know that there are several people who have been or are currently on Yervoy 10mg. I was just curious if you could share anything about the side effects and how long side effects lasted? I have my first infusion tomorrow morning.

Thanks all,


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Bubbles's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 12:37pm

Hey Buddy,

Just wanted you to know I've been thinking about you (and I'm sure I'm not alone!!!)!  Sent you a message via email/MPIP...but clearly that doesn't work because I didn't even get the copy I sent myself.  Oh well....  Hope you and your holy head (that's what I call mine!!!) is healing well.  Hang in there!! love, c

PS ~ It may not seem like it just now....but there will come a day when you can have fun with this....though sometimes it will be at your own peril.  For instance, when I put an order incorrectly into the computer at work and nurses are confused, questioning, etc....I'm like, "Oops!  Sorry!  That's what happens when you have holes in your head!!!"  Of course, depending on the nurse, I may get a questioning look, a smirk, one who tries to knock another hole in it, or..."Oh, H#LL NO!!!! You're not playing that one, sister!!!"  Yeah, sympathy is not really one of the options!!!!  Love you!!!!  c

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/25/2016 - 10:26am
Replies by: Anonymous, SABKLYN

Hoping for some insight.  My husband just had his yearly skin cancer check and the dermatologist noticed a new faded circle with a red rash in the center on his mid back.  She is thinking either skin irritation or basal cell.  She recommended waiting 4 weeks to check again and if it does not improve will do a shave biopsy.  

Is waiting a month ok?  Are basal cells cancerous?  My husband has no history of skin cancer and a couple skin biposies over the past year have come back as mild to moderate atypica with clear margins.  Thanks for the help.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/24/2016 - 5:35pm

  Is it possible?! Sorry, i dont know how to link article. Saw it on

Do not fear tomorrow, God is already there.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 8/23/2016 - 9:24pm
Replies by: Casitas1, VeraB

Hello all, 
Looking for some advice and support here. I have been undergoing immunotherapy treatment which has been decreased from a two drug therapy to a single drug therapy (Keytruda) but the side effects have been unbearable lately. I have been hospitalized with colitis about 2 months ago and then again with pancreatitis a few weeks ago. I am now home but check ups with the oncologist show a lipase level that is not decreasing. I have been taking corticosteroids at home as well as had an IV infusion today. In addition to my recent weight loss of 15 pounds, I have been extremely fatigued and find it difficult getting out of bed every morning. However, latest CT scans do show progress and benefits of the therapy. 
I am on a bland diet for the pancreatitis although I have had no appetite anyways.

Anybody else struggling with the adverse effects? Its becoming increasingly difficult fighting this battle and I'm looking for any advice or support I can get. 

Thank you! 

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