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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Hi all,

This may be a long shot, but I am wondering if any of you can recommend a good dermatologist in the Kansas City area. 

I have not had melanoma, but have had several dysplstic moles removed and have an immediate family member who had melanoma.  I know my risk is high, so I am looking for a reliable dermatologist.

Do any of you have an experience with university hospitals? Pros/cons? 

Or any websites where I could find reviews? I am having trouble finding much information right now.

 

 

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snow white's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 6:04pm

So Dad is going to City of Hope tomorrow.  But, I don't know if its with a Melanoma Specialist.  Can anyone recommend an excellent doc in the LA area?

Much Appreciated!!!!!

Jennifer

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Buddy0513's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 5:48pm

Hello everyone,

I have been posting here about the whole treatment with my mom and we have a new update. I was wondering if anyone had someone similar or any insight to any of this...

She started her immunotherapy last week. That night was horrible, she was very sick, couldn't stand up, had a slight fever, diarrhea etc...this slightly continued into the next day when her ankle swelled up as well (we were checked out and it isn't a blood clot). About 24 hrs (close to this...) the tumor in her stomach basically looked as if it had doubled in size. She had many pains and found it hard to walk. About 3 days after treatment, the other side of her stomach where there was no tumor swelled up as well. She has been in/out of pain, both on and off high stength pain medicine to help her sleep. She has a lot of fatigue (which I am assuming is from the treatment last week)

After meeting with our Dr. He mentioned he wanted to do chemotherapy (Taxol and some other one that starts with a C) because we don't have more time to wait with the location of tumor (it's basically crushing her insides). We start chemo on Thursday. They went over side effects such as hair loss, fatigue etc...with the hope of shrinking the tumor faster since the Dr had mentioned we cant wait the 12 weeks for immunotherapy to respond.

Does anyone have any insight or experience on this? We keep feeling like we are getting worse and worse news at this point. Ever since she started the immunotherapy she has been sicker/in pain more than ever, even compared to the 1.5 months we were waiting to start all of these treatments.

I don't know much about chemotherapy since I didn't expect this to be thrown in with the mix. Any thoughts would be helpful. From what I have Googled Taxol doesn't sound very good, but again I don't fully understand what I am looking for.

I also want to say thank you to everyone who has been following/giving input for this case. Since it is mainly me taking care of her everything has been very hard and any help/prayers are appreciated.

Melissa

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Replies 0

I've been NED for 8 years. Still see derm every 4 months. My last visit I had 5 shaved (never doing that again). Never had it done before, it was my first visit with my new Derm lesson learned.
OK but three came back dysplastic, no surprise, a lot of mine are. But here is the thing, I asked for my path results to have for my records and noticed she had further testing done and two were follically positive for Melan-A.
Should I be waiting 3 months to have checked again? Or is this something to be a little more worried about?
Thanks for any advice!

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Replies 2
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 1:29pm
Replies by: Anonymous, debwray

Hi everyone,

I'm brand new to posting but have been lurking for a couple of months. I have a LOT of moles so have been monitoring them fairly closely for a number of years and have been on a 6-month skin check schedule with my derm for the last 3 or 4 years. I have had several moles removed in the last 10 years that were in various stages of dysplasia. I had a mole removed from my upper back in May of this year that came back melanoma in situ. In a lot of ways I was not shocked because my father died of cancer (not melanoma) and my mom died from a retinal melanoma that metastesized to her liver and other organs so I certainly had the family history. The mel was removed and then I noticed a dark mole on my left cheek that was not very big but that I had not noticed in previous months and it looked really strange (in a bad way) so just had it biopsied earlier this month and it also came back as MIS and will get it excised in a couple of weeks. I had just kind of come to terms with the first MIS and was really taken aback with this second one because I didn't expect to have another mel in such a short time period. I have felt anxious, depressed, sad, but grateful and know I am very, very lucky to have caught both of these in the early stages. But it has really rocked my world and left me depressed and not knowing what the future holds for me. I look at all the moles I have and think they ALL look questionable at this point as I am super-scrutinizing everything. I know that is unreasonable and I think it is just a stage that I need to get through. I have an appointment with my derm next week just to sit down and discuss my situation to answer my questions and see if there is anything else I could be doing (other than the obvious and important things of staying out of the sun, wearing sunscreen and long sleeves, etc.)

I guess I just wanted to "unload" all my feelings on the boards and most of all wanted to say thanks to everyone for posting all the great information and stories about what they are going through. I am trying foremost to educate myself about mel and be super vigilant on my monthly skin checks. I had my husband take a lot of photos of my body so I can compare against them every month. I have a lot of moles on my back, which are a lot more difficult for me to monitor and I get very anxious about those especially having this 2nd mel. Thanks for letting me tell my story and to vent my feelings and emotions and thanks for all the communal support each and every one of you provide! I have found it so helpful.

Gail

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mom3girlsFL's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 1:25pm
Replies by: Yvette, debwray, Patrisa

Hi All,

Just wanted to post real quick recent scans show NED!!! After being on (sometimes off) various doses of tafinlar mekinist combo I am mel free! Wow, can't even believe it! 

Have been on almost a year so i was honestly not expecting the good news.  Even the last lingering 2mm lung nodule has disappeared.  Oncology appointment tomorrow. Not sure where we go from here...any thoughts?  Will i be on meds indefinitely?

Ugh, just trying to enjoy the news and clearing "thoughts" from my head!

Laurie

2002 stage 1

2010 stage 3 - radical groin dissection

2015 stage 4 - lung, retroperinoteal/para aortic - Taf/Mek combo

Do not fear tomorrow, God is already there.

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Julie in SoCal's picture
Replies 15
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 1:02am

Greetings Friends,

Yesterday I saw the Rock Star and did the "paper work" and body work (blood, ekg, and pee in a cup) to join INCB 39110-17.  I'll have to have scans again but provided lung tumor is still there (short of a miracle, there's no reason it wouldn't be) I'll start Day 1 Cycle 1 next Wed- Phew!  Maybe this roller coaster ride is coming to a full and complete stop or at least maybe slow down a little.

I don't know if I'm on the JAC1 or PI3-k arm, but either way I'll get it a drug with Pembo and I've responded Pembro well in the past. So I'm hopeful.

Meanwhile I'm tired.  All the hurry up and wait has been stressful.  Not knowing what the plan is has taken a toll. I'm very glad to have a plan.

Thanks again for being fellow companions on this wild ride.

Shalom,

Julie

 

 

Stage 4  (TXN2cM1b)-- 2008 WLE, SNB, LND, HD-INF, GM-CSF, (intransits) 2013 IPI, (intransits) 2014 PEMBRO, (intransits and lung met) 2016 ???

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Replies 3
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 12:21am
Replies by: Wbatz, Bubbles, Anonymous

I had melanoma removed from my right foot, lymph nodes from my right thigh. I'm on my 5th dose of lectures and so sore and exhausted, I can barely get through a day. I used to play several sports, that's over with for now. Has metrics had this effect on anyone else?

Thanks

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DZnDef's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 11:02pm

I've been mostly offline since my broth4er's death and am not caught up with everyone.  I hope you are all proficient beast-takers now.  I had a setback.  After 4 years of confining the beast to my lungs it finally spread.  I noticed a lump in my right hand one month after my brother's death.  Followed  by more lumps just under the skin in August.  Before I could make it to a scheduled CT I woke with double vision and signs of stroke.  A CT at the ER showed 7 brain mets.  Started Taf/ MEK today.  Liver is clear so that's good.  Hope these drugs do gthe trick and go easy on me.  Hard to type.  Lack of control of left hand.  I had a good 4 years so no regrets.  Grief and stress will do a number on you though.  Don't worry, be happy.  That's the secret to good health!

 

Cheers!

Maggie

Maggie - Stage IV (lung mets unknown primary) since July 2012

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I was NED since August after follwowing a ipi/nivo treatment at the end of the year 2015. But last week I felt a bump in y left forearm. I had a biopsy done. The pathologist thinks it is a schwannoma ( benign tumor of nerve) but my dermatologist wants to review the specimen with other doctors as it could be a recurrence of melanoma. I have to wait ....

Anyone has gone through this kind of experience ?

Thanks,

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BrianP's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 10:49pm

Tumeric comes up from time to time on here.  Thought this was a pretty interesting article.  Study results toward end of article.  Bottom line is supplements didn't show much benefit but adding tumeric spice to foods seems to have a positive impact.

http://mashable.com/2016/09/20/turmeric-experiment-superspice/#8OvNB89clmqW

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Esmith123's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 7:31pm
Replies by: jennunicorn, Anonymous

Hello, 

It takes a long time to see a derm where I live so I have come to this forum to ask Melanoma questions. I have a tanning history so I am trying to keep myself informed about how to check my moles and what to look out for. I have had a spot in my armpit for about 5 years now. It is weird shaped and has not changed that I know of. It's under 3 mm but was wondering if it would have grown much since noticing it 5 years ago? I am trying to be as careful as I can be and get as much information as I can regarding melanoma. Did your melanoma conntinuously grow each month or year?

Thank you in advance.

-Emily

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Elana's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 3:46pm
Replies by: Elana, WithinMySkin

Hey Everyone,

I was diagnosed with Stage 3B in late June 2016. I joined the interferon/ipi vs keytruda clinical trial and was randomized to the standard arm and went with interferon. I know that decision is somewhat controversial but that's not what I am posting about here.

After 2 weeks of high dose interferon infusions we had to hold because my LFTs were off the charts. My AST was in the 500's and my ALT was in the 200s. A week later one of my LFTs was still 5x the normal limit so we decided to drop from the trial in order to not miss out on 2 full weeks of HD infusions (which my oncologist felt was the most important part). We waited 4 more days until my LFT's were in the 80's (ALT) and 60's (AST) to restart treatment. That was this past thursday 9/22. They restarted me on a 33% dose reduction (21 million units or something like that). 

Yesterday, after my infusion when I was leaving MGH, I felt like I was having epigastric pain. It felt like a lot of pressure or gas. I thought maybe it was heartburn and I took some tums and rested for a bit before I went to ultimate frisbee practice where I ran around for 3 hours without any problems. Then last night when I went to lay down in bed I felt this overwhelming pain and pressure in my epigastric area. It was not a burning sensation like heart burn. It kept me up most of the night and eventually I realized it hurt more on my right side. This morning it hurts to walk around and breath deep and the pain is dull but hurts more on my right side, just about where my liver should be. I don't have any jaundice, nausea, or any other symptoms. My stools are light brown and not clay colored. The pain goes away when I sit upright. I told all this to the nurses and a doctor took one look at me and said I was fine. 

Mostly I am just wondering if anyone else has ever had these symptoms?  What it might mean? Should I ask to get my LFTs re-checked? I have my last day of infusions for the week tomorrow.

In general I have been doing great with the interferon treatments, my oncologist cannot beleive it. I am 29 and was in the best shape of my life when I was diagnosed. I have continued to stay active and only really ever have symptoms on the first 2 days of treatment, and they are managed well with excedrin/tylenol/zofran.

Any info people might have is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Best,

Elana

If you are interested in my whole story, I have been writing a blog: https://schwamingcancer.wordpress.com/

Elana

Stage 3B 6/2016

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Momofjake's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 1:06pm

Quick question,

Jake is finally debating ipi. I felt a little inspired at 4am:) If he is going to give a new treatment a shot, wouldn't a combo be better?? Why not ipi/nivo?? Or what else? He has done: interferon, biochemo, rafiation(tons), pembro, and TAF alone due to side effects. I read his scan report. It's pretty darn good compared to 4 mo ago! It feels like he has a shot at clearing this out even more if he tries a combo. I think he is about to give up, go natural and feel good as long as possible without hospitals and feeling crappy. I want to give him some hope❤️

Thanks all--Kerri

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CindyCo's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 9/26/2016 - 12:07pm

I was wondering if anyone could give us advice as to whether to have a surgical oncologist or colorectal surgeon perform my mother's surgery.  She will most likely need an APR resection and inguinal lymph node removal.  We have an appointment with a colorectal surgeon (who has great credentials and used to be chief of surgery) this Tuesday, September 27, but we cannot meet with a surgical oncologist until October 4 (he has a packed schedule because he is in demand). 

Because we are currently inclined to take the earliest surgery possible, does anyone have any insight as to whether we should hold out for the surgical oncologist or vice versa? 

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