Future biopsies? Switching docs?

Posted By
6/13/2018 7:44pm
Replies: 4

Hello! I’m thankful for the info I’ve gained from this board in the last six months. I had a melanoma stage 1a diagnosed at the end of last year. My thoughts are that it “flared” during pregnancy. I was sick with worry over it but am thankful it was only 1a. At the time of biopsy (shave) my doctor didn’t palpate my nodes and he didn’t at the WLE either which was performed by him in his office. Once he palpated them at my “first” skin check follow up I left his office and read about the role of lymph nodes. I became sick with worry as I had a lymph node swollen in my armpit on the same side as my melanoma during a good amount of my pregnancy. It has since gone down so I’ve talked myself out of my worry for the most part. But I wasn’t even aware of this connection because he never informed me and didn’t even perform it until six months after biopsy. I have since mentioned it and he wasn’t worried at all.

I also have three smaller moles that became super dark during pregnancy. They still are. There’s been no change after birth but they still concern me. They aren’t large but aren’t like the rest of my moles. I’ve pointed them out and he doesn’t seem worried. But he’s VERY laid back. In fact my original melanoma looked classic and he said as he shaved it “this isn’t melanoma.”

Should I switch doctors? Should I demand for more biopsies? It seems a lot of people with melanoma get them done all of the time and I haven’t had anything biopsied other than my primary.


I would love some suggestions and opinions. Thanks!

For perspective, most biopsies are NOT melanoma - about 2% of all biopsies are melanoma.  Only about 10% of the warriors with one primary will ever get a second.  And 75% of all melanomas arise on new moles.  Having 3 similar moles is actually encouraging because you still are looking for that ugly duckling.  We know moles get darker in prenancy so I'd just take good photographs of them now.  If they change any more, insist on a biopsy.  If they stay the same, then it probably was just pregnancy induced color change and nothing to worry about.  Here's my bottom line - I want a doc who works with me.  If you said "this mole really makes me uncomfortable", would he biopsy it for you?  My take is that more biopsies isn't necessarily better, just more.  I have had 3 primaries and I only remove changing or new and different.  So far, that has worked for me over the last 26 years since I was originally diagnosed.  YOU have to do what makes YOU comfortable, no one else.

I agree with the statement that "YOU have to do what makes YOU comfortable,.... The biopsy that diagnosed my first melanoma was only done because I insisted on it. The Dermotologist insisted it was nothing.


I would be looking for a new one.  I don't think the swollen node situation was necessarily that bad, because they can swell for all kinds of reasons, pregnancy being a pretty good one.  That you have to fight him everytime to get him to do anything is why I would look elsewhere.  I'm not paying a handyman to just do what I ask, I'm hiring a specialist who should tell me what I don't even know to ask. Good luck!

I would be finding a new derm for sure, you have to be comfortable and trusting of your doc and it does not sound like you are so for that reason alone you should switch.

As for not biopsying the new spots, there is usually two types of changes happening to really worry. If it's new, shows growth, color, abnormal shape, irregular edges and there maybe one or two others that I can't think of but if you are seeing two of these things then you should be worried. Otherwise you are probably in safe territory.

- - - Never Giving Up No Matter How Hard This Gets - - -

Stage I Survivor Since Aug 2009, Stage IV Warrior Since Apr 2017, #AldrichStrong Since Apr 1983