Newly diagnosed

Posted By
11/18/2017 1:26pm
Replies: 5

Hi, my father was recently diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer, and I have some questions/concerns.

From what I can gather, my father has had two surgeries- one where they only cut out part of the tumor to biopsy it- this is when he was officially diagnosed, and then a second, Mohr surgery, to remove the rest. My first question is why couldn't they tell him how deep the tumor went? We still don't know what stage he is at. My second concern/question is that we have to wait over two weeks to find out any information- his most recent surgery was last Monday, the 13th, and we won't find anything out until the 29th. 

The doctor only checked surface lymph nodes, but based on where my dad's tumor was, it looks like it was close to lymph nodes that you wouldn't be able to feel on the surface. Why weren't these checked? Did they check them and not say anything? 

I just feel like we're being kept in the dark, and this concerns me. Especially considering how quickly this type of cancer can progress. 

My dad said that the doctor seemed confident that everything was removed and that it hadn't spread, but I just feel that some questions that should or could have been answered werent, and this lack of information worries me- is it because they need to do more investigation? That makes me think that everything isn't routine, and that they're just giving us platitudes until they figure out what is going on.

Am I just freaking out unnecessarily?


Thanks in advance

jennunicorn - (11/18/2017 - 1:38pm)

Hi anon, sorry you are having to deal with this, it definitely does not help when you are not given all of the info. Based on your dad having had mohs done, there is a high liklihood that it was stage 0 (in situ), in which case there would be no depth. Melanomas that are deeper than in situ would not typically get mohs procedure to remove it, maybe sometimes a low stage 1 on the face would get mohs for cosmetic reasons. Lymph node biopsies only happen for tumors that are .75mm-1.00mm+ deep, so it would have to be fairly deep for them to do that surgery and it doesn't sound like your dad's tumor was very deep. 

Your dad should ask for the pathology report so he and you know exactly what is going on. 

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

sgilbert3114 - (11/18/2017 - 1:43pm)

Thanks, your answer helps a lot. I could barely find any information on melanomas and Mohr surgery, except that it's typically used for the more common types of skin cancer, which doesn't help at all. Does Mohr surgery typically have a big scar? It's possible I got the surgeries mixed up- my dad wasn't entirely clear, because they are trying to keep me from worrying. Thinking on it more, I think he had a biopsy, then Mohr surgery, and then maybe excision? He has a really big scar on the side of his chest, around his rib cage. 

jennunicorn - (11/18/2017 - 2:05pm)

A biopsy is always first, that's the only way to find out if something is cancerous or not, then the next step is some form of excision, which most commonly is a wide local excision which would leave a substantial looking scar. Mohs doesn't leave much of a scar, which is why they are done a lot on the face, so that there is minimal scarring. It would be strange to do mohs and then do a wide excision. In any case, if he has a big scar on his chest, then they took good margins and he's likely all done with melanoma. Again, the pathology report would have more info as far as staging and give an idea about what kind of follow up should be happening.

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

sgilbert3114 - (11/18/2017 - 2:15pm)

I don't think he has the pathology report yet. Does it normally take over two weeks to get the results? My parents were a little vague on what exactly happened. My said he had Mohs done, but like I said, he was a really big scar on his side, so I'm not entirely sure what he had done. Maybe the doctor mentioned Mohs but they did wide excision instead?

jennunicorn - (11/18/2017 - 5:08pm)

His doctor should have the pathology report from the initial biopsy, so your dad would be able to get a copy of that now. The pathology from the excision can take a couple weeks to come back, just depends on how busy the lab is. 

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery