My fiancee was diagnosed yesterday with melanoma. We are still in shock, and trying to make some sense out of it. We;ve been to a dermatologist and have an appointment set up with a melanoma specialist the week after next. I expect that further excision (to increase the margins) and a sentinel lymph node biopsy are in the offing, and then whatever the biopsy indicates will shape what happens after that.
Here is what we know so far, based on the pathology report for what looked like "just a mole" and the other tests that have been done:
Breslow thickness: 1.15 mm
Mitotic rate: 1
Location: behind ear
Depth of penetration of skin: to the point where the epidermis meets the subdermis but not subcutaneous (as far as I can follow pathology-speak)
Primary melanoma completely excised with clear margins, although very narrow (1 mm hoizontally and 3 mm vertically)
No swelling or symptoms in lymph nodes, chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound and bloodwork all clear of any abnormalities.
From what I can figure, this looks like Stage 1B to me. However, the dermatologist we spoke to was quite ominous, talking about "spending quality time with your kids", "be grateful for each day you have", and "don't plan anything for the next year". So we are panicking on one hand, and slightly reassured by the high success rate for early cancers on the other.
For those of you who have been down this road, what would your advice be at this point, in terms of what we should expect or what we should be doing? I realize there are dangers in getting information off the internet, but I also would appreciate any wisdom from this group.