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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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 3/19/2013 - 10:12am
Replies by: hbecker

Does it work?  I tried to send a personal message to someone and it didn't see to go through.  Also, if it did go through and there is a response, where does that show up for me to see it.


Thank you

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H555's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 3/28/2013 - 10:00pm

I've updated my profile to give more in depth info but here's the summary. I was diagnosed at stage 4 about this time last year with numerous nodules and malignancies in my lungs. prior to that had been stage 3 for about 10 months when an inguinal lymph node was found to be malignant, 16 years after a primary on my calf. had LND, 17 lymph nodes were removed, only the 1 was malignant. had high dose radiation on that area after the surgery. 10 IV Interferon treatments Nov 2011. Feb of 2012 had breathing problems, subsequent scans showed info in first line of this update.  Began Zelboraf and hi dose radiation in late feb of last year. had some dosage adjustments intially, ended up taking 3 and 3. Scans were good until Feb of this year when one remaining node that had been the largest began to growand was joined by a 2nd node of the same size in the same lung. My oncologists locally and at OHSU referred me to a Phase I clinical trial at OHSU and have been in the process of being screened for that, more screening this week but i'm scheduled to begin the new treatments a week from this wednesday. The trial is being conducted at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Title is "EMR200066_006: an Open-Label, Phase Ib Dose Escalation Trial of Oral Combination Therapy with  MSC1936369B and SAR 245409 in Subjects with Locally Advanced or Metastic Solid Tumors. " the Sponsor is EMD Serono, inc.  the drugs are an MEK inhibitor and a combination P13K and mTOR inhibitors.

This trial is also enrolling patients with corresponding breast cancer, Non Small Cell Lung Cancer and Colorectal Cancer.  I'm feeling pretty lucky to get into this trial and will post how it rolls out.

I had hoped to be one of those long term responders to Zelboraf because it worked so quikcly and so well for me, I had very few of the side effects, all of which were quite livable but it was not to be.

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Charlie S's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 3/19/2013 - 10:19pm

May the loading of your IL2 big guns today reach your quarry !

Hang in there and go get 'em !


Charlie S

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darktranceeee's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 3/18/2013 - 11:02pm
Replies by: Janner, darktranceeee

A few weeks ago I was confused, scared and paranoid about a mole/red patch in the sole of the foot, and posted pictures, those threads are burried in the 6th or 8th page of this board. I did manage to get a hold of a dermatologist who biopsied it. Biopsy report came back and I am happy to say that it was plantar hemangioma dilated blood vessels.

I just wanted to update you guys and I heartily thank you for your support, helped me stay calm. Everyone here is so brave with strong mind and thoughts that helped me stay positive. The biopsy waiting period wasn't very easy..

I once again thank everyone who responded to my post. I wish you all the best. I would like to donate something to this board and I will find out more about it here.

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bikerwife's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 3/24/2013 - 1:34pm
Replies by: kylez, susanr, awillett1991

we had some heart problems after gamma knife we ended up staying overnight and in middle of night he had a seizure. Scan showed everything was ok .Dr aid they treated 32 pin sized spots on brain. he came home Thursday is doing well. treatment today. Ldh down to 327 was 800

What God leads u to he will. Lead you through

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meeshka6059's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 3/19/2013 - 5:02am

update: now dad is not talking at all. he does grunt, cough, and sigh. i think that is his way of communicating. he makes good eye contact. i am pretty sure he hears us and understands. i am taking all of your comments to heart and it is comforting. thank you. i appreciate it and i am grateful.

mom and i are embracing each other and filling their home with love.

blessings and love, ~michelle


Suddenly Dad is too weak to get out of bed. He can barely talk now. He is off of all treatment. Hospice is on board and full time aids. We are so sad but there is a lot of love surrounding us.

We wish we knew how long. No one knows.

We wish he could tell us what he is thinking. He either can't. Or won't.

This is so hard.

Sending love and light to all. ~Michelle

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natasha's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 4/12/2013 - 7:34pm

Hello dear friends !!

    It is more then an year since my diagnosys of melanoma stage 1a and one year since my WLE.

   I visited hospital every 3 months for the year .

  My scar on the breast is healed perfectly - even unnoticable but yesterday I noticed raised part on the scar , it feels as a a small lump and was a bit blueish..

  I pressed on it several times ,trying to invistigate that it is and blood appears under the skin ,so now it is blood spot still stays under the skin , and this lump is not bluish any more.

 Can it be local reccurence ? Is it possible to have some blood clots in the scar after 1 year???

 I made appointment with local dermotologist but still need to wait to see her.

 I would appricate any advice and opinion.

 Thank you very much !!


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mark1101's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 3/19/2013 - 9:48am
Replies by: mel123, mark1101, 94z28joe

I am 1 week in to ipilimumab for stage IIIc melanoma which involved 5 left axillary nodes.  These have been removed and the original site margins have been cleaned as well.  I was curious about others here who are in or were in or are considering entering this trial.  What are your experiences and thoughts?  I am in arm C and received my first infusion of 3mg/kg ipi a week ago.  So far I am feeling good, but feel paranoid waiting for some symptom or another jump up and bite me.  Sometimes our imaginations can be our worst enemies.

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mark d's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 3/20/2013 - 1:59am

I have faced the fact that cancer is an evil creature that may take my life. I am just trying to see how many people have kicked its ass. I am stage III with 3.6 mm nodular melanoma one sentinel node was positive and getting more nodes cut out. How long did you have it and what stages were you, what treatments and how long have you survived this evil? I am fighting this with everything I have and will have. I am not going to quit just yet. Also I am in central Texas. Is anyo e else around the Ft hood area?

Mark D.

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Amanda's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 3/18/2013 - 8:04am

Hello all, just wanted to let others know, that Randys tumors that we can see and feel, (under his jaw bone, another one right below on neck, and a few on the chest wall) all have gotten noticably smaller.  Especially the two under the jaw bone.  There is the bigger one that was portruding out and was very noticable...and a the much smaller one below it.  The larger tumor on the jaw is almost flat with the normal contour or the jawline, and the smaller one feels tiny.  This is all after only two infusions of merk-3475.  We go for next infusion tomorrow, and will confirm what the Dr. says tomorrow as well.  But we can literally see the difference, so hoping it continues.  I will confirm tomorrow with you all, have a wonderful night

girlfriend of patient randy, stage 4, no primary.

"Give thanks in all circumstances"

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I ran across this program OnDemand on XFinity.  It talks about understanding your genetic code but has a segment about a fellow with stage IV melanoma taking Zelboraf.  I found it online at this location, too.  NIH is the sponsor.

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Ann from Iowa's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 3/19/2013 - 12:49pm

So this will not become to lengthy...go to my "Ann from Iowa" to read of my husband's melanoma history.  In short he has been NED now for 2 1/2 years, Stage IIIB, Leukine treatment for 1 year and radiation to auxillary, left arm.  He has been a smoker and chews tobacco since he was 14 years old and is now a very healthy 69. 

We went for his 6 month check-up last Friday and his chest x-ray showed lungs clear, no other problems.  Skin exam done by a lady other than the doctor and she discussed his smoking history.  He was told when they found the melanoma in his lymph node, 5 cm with extranodal extension that he must quit his tobacco use.   Well, that has not happened, the old adage that "I am invincible."

The Dr. a melanoma specialist came in the room, did not say one word as to his good report but began to lecture him on his continued use of tobacco, and I feel he has the right to do this.  But what stunned me was that he told my husband that if he continued his smoking and chewing tobacco he will not treat him in the future for ANY cancer that according to him will come at some time or another surely within the next 10 years.  The Doctor said he had previously been a smoker and quit and if he could do it so could anyone.  He turned to me and said I was to make him stop.  He then left.  End of  appointment.  To make this story complete, within a half an hour my husband was smoking a cigarette and has not looked back yet.

I am the one needing the help as I just don't know what to do as to future follow up appts. with this Dr.  Since it has been 2 1/2 years since he ended treatment all he gets now is a chest x-ray and visit with the Dr.  It  seems to me that if my husband does not stop these habits that we should not go back for further appts. as I am taking him at his word, he would not treat him anyway if he were to find more cancer or a smoking related cancer.  Should we just go to his local dermatologist now or should I at least go by myself and talk to him for advice.  Frankly, I am so upset by this I cannot see straight and certainly do not know what to do. 


Because my husband was told that the Leukine treatments that he took have been proven to not be of any benef,  but his melanoma has not returned after they just about gave him a death sentence when it came back in his lymph node I think he has taken this lightly and he truly is addicted to tobacco as he has watched his 5 brothers and sisters die young from COPD and heart disease but still has not stopped .  How can you not take that seriously.  In any case, any advice would be appreciated.  From my perspective if all doctors were to quit treating patients because they refused to either lose weight, quit using so much salt, go on a special diabetic diet for all the other bad health issues, many people would no longer have a doctor to treat them.  Just thoughts that are running through my mind as I try and deal with this.    I read daily to try and learn about melanoma just in case his would return.  Education seems to be the best route and this site has so much good information along with the support.  Thanks for the ear.




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POW's picture
Replies 17
Last reply 3/17/2013 - 9:57pm

My brother passed away peacefully in hospice care yesterday. I wrote in detail about his passing in the "Off-Topic" forum.

Mike is at peace now, together in Heaven with his beloved Margaret. Our family will be OK. Thank you all for your help, advice, and support over these months. 

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Janet Lee's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 3/22/2013 - 9:59pm

I posted the following in a thread started by POW regarding insurance paying for Zelboraf for non-V600E BRAF mutations such as BRAF V600R. I hope it's ok to post it again as its own topic, as I want to make sure people see this update.

First, thank you so much to POW for her help in this nightmare of trying to get Zelboraf covered by our insurance company. And eternal thanks to everyone on this website for their insight, knowledge, help, and understanding.

I can understand the FDA originally approving Zelboraf for the BRAF V600E -- after all, the vast majority of BRAF murtations are V600E and it makes sense to concentrate on that group. However, 19 months after the inital approval, shouldn't there be something more to offer for the BRAF mutations OTHER than V600E? My husband Don is V600R.

We have appealed three times to our insurance company; the last appeal was even supported by our Congressman from central Massachusetts, Jim McGovern. Even that was denied -- as "not being medically necessary." At their request, we are sending more information to the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, DC to prove that Don is BRAF positive and is being treated for metastic melanoma. In all honesty, I do believe we are dealing with idiots.

In the meantime, mainly through the efforts of Dana Farber, Genentech has agreed to provide Zelboraf to my husband, Don, and he took his first dose at 11:55 a.m. yesterday. (YAY!) Interestingly, even Genentech has in essence tied its own hands and is subject to strict overisght by the FDA in what it does with Zelboraf, and they were not "free" to simply give it to a patient that did NOT have the V600E BRAF mutation. Dana Farber supplied an enormous amount of information to Genentech for them to even consdier giving the drug to Don, including the "Australian" paper from December of 2012 citing exciting positive results for V600R patients.

The other side of the story with Genentech is that Don and I had to "prove" that we were beneath a certain income threshhold. It seems that, if your combined household income is above $100,000 per year, you are not worth helping. If your household income is $99,000 or less, it seems that your life is worthy of help. With Don's illness, he has been unable to work since Christmas; I am not working so that I can help take care of him. So I had to provide "proof" that our income would be below $100,000 in 2013. That may sound like a lot of money to many people, but we are two professionals who have worked for over 40 years to reach this level and have planned for a contented retirement together.

We are continuing our fight with the BC/BS Federal Employee Plan. I honestly believe that the mission of insurance companies is to figure out a way to NOT pay your claim. I believe the bureaucrats put on their blinders and see "V600E" and nothing else.

Don's disease is quite advanced, and I know that waiting these past 6 weeks for a systemic treatment has been detrimental to his overall status. We pray that the Zelboraf will give him some relief from his pain and give us some quality time together.

Until Genentech came through this week with the Zelboraf for Don, Tim Turnham of MRF was unbelievable in his help in getting us into the pipeline for a Glaxo Smith Kline compassionate care use of Dabrafenib. According to Tim, GSK actually wants to use the Dabrafenib on rare BRAF mutations. Because of Dons advanced disease, we really had no choice but to start the Zelboraf rather than wait even a few more days or weeks for the Dabraneib.

I know this post is long, but I have not really had the time to post recently. Don had to have his brain met surgically removed (cyberknife was ineffective -- and his brain met brew larger and was affecting him dramatically) and he is now in rehab. We believe tumors are now impinging on his lower spinal column, so the Zelboraf is desperately needed.

Thanks again to you all, who give me hope and support!

Janet Lee 

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bj63's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 3/20/2013 - 5:13pm

Hi all:

I've recently created a profile if you're interested in any background info.

I've been on Zelboraf since November, with good results overall.  However, I'm now seeing a lot of new small, dark moles - like my arms and particularly my legs have been sprinkled with pepper.  This in spite of the fact that my last PET scan showed dormant tumors and no glucose activity.

Anybody else  on Zelboraf seen this?  I'm scheduled to see a dermatologist next week.


Sometimes no news is the best news!

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