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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Replies by: debwray

After several consultations, and in the interest of time, it looks like my mother will have her anal melanoma mass and inguinal lymph node resection removed by a three surgeon team at Kaiser.  These surgeons are part of the melanoma clinic in Riverside and believe in a more aggressive approach.  It also turns out that the Chief of Surgery at Riverside is currently battling melanoma as well and is therefore very supportive of melanoma treatment.

The surgeon examined her today and told us that since her mass is higher in the anal canal than previously thought, they can possibly remove it locally instead of performing the full APR resection.  Since APR doesn't significantly extend a patient's life, he said that it would be our decision.  However, this would leave behind a suspicious mesorectal lymph node.  She is frightened about the APR resection, and we don't want to put her through it if it significantly decreases her quality of life.  On the other hand, even a remote chance is something to consider.  Leaving a suspicious mesorectal lymph node behind is like a bomb waiting to explode. 

I wrote to Dr. Ribas at UCLA and he told me that in cases where the disease hasn't spread beyond the pelvis, aggressive resection is the way to go.  Has anyone faced a similar decision?

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Replies by: Melodygrace, slh4448

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 5
Last reply 9/29/2016 - 12:29am

Just wanted to update, after much discussion by 3 different docs. they have all agreed to the Gamma Knife!  My Dad is crying tears of relief that with so many diffrent opnions all have decided that this is a go.  Supposed to happen next week!  I am so glad I pushed Mom to ask about it!  Its going to happen at Hoag in Newport Beach.



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Jenine's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/2/2016 - 9:13pm
Replies by: beans920, BrianP, Jenine, Bubbles

Hello all,

My husband was diagnosed with stage IIIC Melanoma two years ago.    He underwent immunotherapy including the maintenance program.    He had a CAT scan in June which showed nothing even though he felt pain in the center of his chest. Three months later he had a PET scan which resulted in a tumor in  his lymph node and sternum. Has anyone else experienced  something similar?   Maybe I'm naïve but I wasn't expecting a reoccurrence somehow.   So worried.  I'm trying to figure things out and be  strong for my husband and children.   Any input or suggestions for treatment you may have would be appreciated.

Wishing everyone strength and good health.

Thank you,








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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 9/28/2016 - 9:34pm
Replies by: debwray

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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Hukill's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 9/29/2016 - 8:38am

Has anyone received a flu shot while on these drugs and did you have any problems from it? I see my dr on friday and can ask him then, I looked on line but did not find much and then some said you could some said you can't.

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stevecathy's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 9/29/2016 - 6:49pm

Short of story , my husband has been on mekinist and taflinar since Jan 16. Ct scan 5 weeks ago looked great , yesterday began feeling heaviness in left leg and arm . Primary Dr sent to er , he began to have seizures while at er . Mri done and confirmed brain lessions . There are 4 that were measured 1 to 2.5 cm . We are heartbroken, I have ask local oncologist if he can start keytruda. Advice , comments , anyone dealing with this issue , success, experience would all be appreciated. Please any suggestions. Thank you

Cathy Jewell

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 10/5/2016 - 3:01pm
Replies by: Treadlightly, 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.


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 9/28/2016 - 12:55pm
Replies by: Anonymous, Patina, Bubbles, Ed Williams

Hey guys,

my subject is self explanatory, so please, does anyone know?

thanks in advance!

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adriana cooper's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 10/2/2016 - 4:10pm

Adriana has surgery in the AM to place her ommaya and is scheduled to start Depocyt on Friday then every 2 weeks. She has not been scheduled for a flow test. I have been doing quite a bit of research and read that it is an important step and most every post I read from folks undergoing IT therapy have mentioned this step. Should I be concerned that it has not been scheduled. I understand the entire process takes 24hrs. As far as I can tell her Neuro-oncologist is quite experienced in IT therapy and has run trials using it (sadly none for melanoma) I would be devastated if something bad were to happen because a step got missed. I think the Dr.s get tired of my asking questions and researching but as with us all, our loved ones come first.

We are trying to stay optimistic about the Depocyt working for melanoma given it is her only current option, although any instance of melanoma patients using IT chemo therapies have passed within a few months. We will continue to investigate IT IL-2 options. Adding TIL would not me an option as no tumor has been preserved for such and there are none currently available as the BRAF worked on them? but sadly allowed the brain tumor to occur. 

Thanks for any advice. 

Would love to hear from any one with first hand experience with leptomentingeal disease (good or bad.)

Hoping for the best but very worried, Rob


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knittingirl's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 9/28/2016 - 9:49pm
Replies by: maryb-z

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 ?


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snow white's picture
Replies 14
Last reply 9/27/2016 - 9:29pm

Dad was all ready to start radiation tomorrow.  He met with Doctor Kim Margolin, specialist and only treats melanoma at City of Hope in Duarte, CA.  She had a whole diffrent opinion on this.  Saying that the mets that he has have been around for a long time.  She also said that the radiation would not "work" well for his brain mets and that they have to get him on a diffrent program ASAP.  So far I haven't been able to get the drug names.  She said one of the side effects is Colitis.  She said the drugs are either going to work really well or not, everyone responds diffrently.  She also stated that Dad should NOT be driving due to possible seizures, NO other doc has told him this???

Its all so confusing!!!!  I don't know what to think.


Anyone have any insight?



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Buddy0513's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 10/7/2016 - 9:26pm

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.


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Esmith123's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/29/2016 - 9:11am
Replies by: miaka618, jennunicorn, Anonymous


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.


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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!


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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