How Long From First Notice Until Surgery Typically?

Posted By
5/2/2014 10:29pm
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Replies: 4

My GP first made comment on the discolored stains back on 3/14/14. It went unattended in any way until about three weeks later and I googled "patchy brown spots on soles of feet". The next day we got the ball rolling and sent photos over to the dermatology department for their initial review. The next day I had some punch 4mm biopsies done. Two weeks later I got the results: Beslow depth of 0.4mm, Clark level 2, mitosis <1. PET scan later that week that came out clean. I am not scheduled for surgery and a SNLB. My father died at 61 back in 1991 from metastatic melanoma. My surgery is not scheduled until May 15, nearly two weeks away. 

That means that, from the time it was FIRST commented on, until it will be removed, two months will have elapsed. Is this normal? I'm freaking out because I notice now that I have aches and pains in the foot that were not there two weeks ago and I can't help but think that time is of the essense and it's being spend waiting instead of making real changes.

Am I being unreasonable? Does it typically take this long? All my surgeons seem to think the schedule is fine, and that given my lab results so far that my prognosis is great. But it's not their life on the line here and I feel a bit like I'm yellling "FIRE" in a theater and everyone's just focused on the movie.

I'm having other health issues that, I fear may be somehow related (thyroid, weird mouth tissue) and though I bring stuff up with my doctors, they don't seem to think there's anything going on.

Or, am I just experiencing some kind of paranoia that all Melanoma patients go through when first diagnosed?

I should also explain that my melanoma is very atypical. It's a large patchy brown spot cluster about 2" around on the sole of my foot with smaller spots on the side and even on the top of my foot. So the partial punch biopsy really didn't tell the full story of what may be happening on my foot. There was a couple of darker spots that were mostly removed by the initial punch biopsy, but even some of the original darker spot remains in my foot.


Hi Robert,

I had a pretty similar situation. After my primary care doctor saw me it took me 2 weeks to be seen by a dermatologist. The biopsy results were very quick, but then I had to meet with a Melanoma specialist, then an oncologist, then a plastic surgeon. By the time I finally had my SNB/WLE procedure, two months had elapsed from my initial primary care appointment.

The sooner you get it taken care of the better...but these things do take a little time. It is important that you be your best advocate in pushing for the quickest treatment options. But you have to try not to let it drive you nuts. As for the pains...I think they are from the biopsy. My Breslow depth was 3.8 mm, much deeper than yours, and I never felt anything at all...except for the pain of the biopsy.

Good luck with everything!

Mark from California


Thank you Mark. It helps to hear your story. I guess I just need to be more patient and less Veruca Salt.

You are experiencing what we all do, we want it done NOW.  The time period has actually been studied and waiting doesn't affect prognosis.  Well, maybe mental prognosis.  We all get it, we all hate it.  But it isn't easy to change.  As for your thyroid/throat, no clue.  You may have a separate issue but it is unlikely to be related to melanoma.   I'd see an ENT doc if it persists.  That doc is more focused on that area and more likely to take your concerns seriously -again not melanoma related.  Waiting sucks and the first year is tough.