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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MaryD's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 9/15/2012 - 8:55am

Almost twelve years ago I started my journey with melanoma and since that time have done 1 year of interferon,  a peptide vaccine clincial trial, radiation, ipi after progressing to stage IV via a lung met, and a 6 month course of pulsed IL-2.

Yesterday I had my six month CT scan and have officially gone 4 years since the last recurrence - something I couldn't have imagined happening!   There are so many fighting this disease valiantly and with great courage - I can only wish that this news gives encouragement and hope to all.


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gabsound's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 9/14/2012 - 10:55am
Replies by: Phil S

Well, got the result of first set of scans post 2nd round of IPI (Yervoy). Thankfully, the brain MRI remains clear. PET/CT shows increased # and intensity of bone mets- mets in 2 spots in the spine (mid thoracic and lumbar), rib, pelvis, upper left femur and right humerus. Lungs are clear- yeah!! Liver still shows multiple lesions, some old and some new. The larger lesion I had after first round of IPI is no longer metabolically active. The SUV levels range from around 3 to 10.8.

I had to get a femur x ray today as well as they found "endosteal scalloping putting pt at increased risk for developing a pathologic fracture".
Fortunately, this spot is not currently hurting. Will have to hear back on that from dr. Makes me glad I didn't take up jogging, or start working out w weights yet!

With the last round, as well as the recently completed round, I would have bouts of pretty intense pain. Last time intense pain in spine and hips, that eventually got better. Also bad pain in right upper abdomen corresponding with a liver lesion that grew and eventually almost disappeared. This time bad pain in right humerus as well as left lower chest just under breast region ( feel pain when coughing, taking in a big breath and sneezing). Right humerus showed a lesion, nothing in left chest or upper abdomen. I feel like I get this intense pain when my body is actively attacking the lesions. Unfortunately, as of yet it has not gotten to work on a lot of lesions. Has anyone else felt this?

All in all, I don't feel I can complain too much. The bone pain is no fun, but thank goodness for pain meds. I'm still working although not 5 days a week. Still having fun, enjoying my family and living my life.

Dr Samlowski wants to rescan in 6 weeks, but in the mean time is sending me to Angeles Clinic to look at clinical trials. He had hoped to get Anti PD 1, but nothing happening in the very near future.

I have to say this was about what I expected. I'm still optimistic that my body will continue to fight this, but am also thinking I'll be heading into a new treatment.

I so appreciate all of you on this board. This is a great group that is generous in sharing information and support. Love you guys and girls!

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Dgentz's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 9/15/2012 - 4:41pm
Replies by: Kellie-T, awillett1991

I have been on Zelboraf since July and am at full dose (8 pills/day). My side effects have varied: hair loss, fatigue, taste changes, headaches, sun sensitivity, joint pain, flu (fevers, chills, etc), intestinal issues, etc. Most come and go; some days better than others.

The one that seems to be getting worse is the "chicken skin", especially on my face. I'm so bumpy and it's getting me down. Anyone find anything to help this side effect?

I have a scan Oct 1 to see how well it's working, so fingers crossed all of these side effects are worthwhile ! ;)

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Gene_S's picture
Replies 21
Last reply 9/18/2012 - 1:37pm
Replies by: jordangurnzz, Anonymous, frankMill, natasha, mlbjab
After watching this video preview,
Healing Cancer From The Inside Out - Preview

I located a copy of the DVD and here are some of the numbers mentioned for melanoma patients.

It should be noted that these numbers are from 1995 when there was no successful treatments. 

Stage II Malignant Melanoma
39% alive after 5 years (typical diet and conventional treatments)
82% alive after 5 years (plant based diet with no conventional treatments)
Stage IV Malignant Melanoma
6% alive after 4 years (Conventional treatment and typical diet)
39% alive after 4 years (adopted a 100% plant based diet)
Stage I & II Malignant Melanoma
That adapted a 100% plant based diet had a 100% survival rate after 5 years
Stage III Malignant Melanoma
That adapted a plant based diet had a 71% survival rate after 5 years.

Live 4 today. Thank God for all he has done for us. Looking forward to enjoying tomorrow.

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Angela C's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/13/2012 - 10:34pm
Replies by: gabsound, Phil S, aldakota22

Hi everyone.

Just wanted to put out an update. I did the IL-12 TIL trial at NIH in April. I had three months of stable scans. Last month's scans showed slight growth of my adrenal tumor and now this month's scans showed a new 5mm brain met. UUUGGGHH. I've had one other brain met and that was a little over a year ago. I had SRS and it took care of it. So, now I'm needing to do SRS again for this new met.

I'm not sure what the plan is from there. The doctors at NIH will be discussing my case next Monday and what they think I should do beyond the SRS. Since something new has shown up since the TIL treatment, they are thinking it's probably good to move on to something else. The possible options mentioned at this point have been a reinduction of Yervoy, IL-15 and another TIL trial.

Other than the brain met, my other tumors were pretty much holding steady from last month. Perhaps a tiny bit of growth in the main tumor in my adrenal gland. It's so frustrating that if the brain met wasn't there, I'd just get to keep moving forward with my monthly follow ups. But, now I need to move on to something new. Fun fun. The brain met caught me by surprise. I guess I should know by now that there is no rhyme or reason with Melanoma and it can show up whenever and wherever it wants to.


Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle. -Plato

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Richard_K's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 9/14/2012 - 2:05pm


I had my routine scan and blood follow-up today and was told my bilirubin took an unexpected upward movement.  As a result, I have been taken off Zelboraf and will have my blood tested again next week to see if it improves.

If there are any of you who have experienced this phenomenon, did your bilirubin return to normal limits after a “drug holiday”?  I would appreciate any information.

Oh yea, 30 months on Zelboraf my scans were good. 


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Community Health Resources Center is presenting the final lecture in a 3-part series on melanoma, details are as follows:

Date, time: Wednesday September 26th, 5 - 6:30 pm

Presented by: David Minor, MD . This lecture will address the advanced stages of melanoma and treatments that are available during stages III and IV. The most current research will be reviewed. Refreshments provided.

Location: 2333 Buchanan St., Level A Conference Room, San Francisco, Ca 94115

Cost: Free! Any donation contribution welcome, $10 suggested

Registration required: Call 415-923-3155, or email

We look forward to seeing you there!

Community Health Resource Center... the next step to better health

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I told my psychologist that, following the fifth surgery, and the not yet faded scar of the first and largest wound on my back, I am feeling defeated at the prospect now of every three-month dermatology check-ins, and the ongoing six month neurology MS check-ins, and the monthly visits to other doctors (osteoporosis, scoliosis, and thyroid monitoring.) I cannot afford to see them all this much ... co pays are exceeding our limited pension income. My husband has just today filed for his social security, as my 30 year pension is not enough to cover all these medical costs. So add worry about bills to all the rest.

I just want to walk away from my extended family; siblings don't seem to understand that melanoma and surgeries on top of MS weakness and depression (and a very tight budget ) doesn't leave me in a 'let's get together at a restaurant' mood.   I'm so tired, and so down, and so hurt, and so confused. I feel damaged by the surgeries, and worn out by the summer.

Does anyone else here have reddish/purple scars that are Z shaped and seven or eight inches long and two to three inches wide in shape? I have two like that, one on my back and one (a bit smaller) on my forearm (that one is very visible.) I didn't think the scars would bother me, but they do ... I feel like I was attacked and marked by a gang. No one sees my back but my husband, but still it bothers me. Why is that?

I have more for them to find - moles or age spots that are changing on my neck, and on my upper chest. One site has begun bleeding each time I wash it, but I see the dermatologist next month, and will wait 'til then.

This post is disorganized, as I am. I just can't keep my thoughts straight. Best I can do.

I am not perfect, but I am enough.

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Erinmay22's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 9/14/2012 - 2:12pm

In May we found a small spot on small intestine. Started zelboraf end of may. Scans in July showed shrinkage. Scans done Monday show growth again. I wasn't surprised since my stomach had been having issues. So plan is to do surgery to just cut it out (which I wanted originally anyway). And start ipi on Tuesday.

So it's been a rough week. To top it off my poor dog Dublin got hit by a car while we were crossing the street on Monday night. He's ok. Just a messed up back foot. Poor guy.

Not looking forward to intestine surgery... But feel much more comfortable just having the spot cut out! I told my doctor my mom is still hoping its just parasites I picked up in Thailand .

Erin "people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel' Maya Angelou

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mama1960's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/12/2012 - 8:19pm

Will be going to MD Anderson for an appointment on 9/25. Was told to plan on staying several days and leave travel plans flexible. Hope they go ahead and do the surgery. I have not been on a vacation in years because I did'nt feel like I could afford to fly. Hope one trip does it.

It is what it is.

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frankMill's picture
Replies 0

"Forever, physical humans are saying, "give me the truth, give me the truth." And we say, there are all kinds of truths. Choose the truths that serve you. Now, there are a lot of people that would feel great discomfort with that. But the thing that we want you to hear about it is: there is a truth of cancer, and there is a truth of wellness. Which truth serves you? You can activate either of them within you, and make it your truth. Truths are created; they aren't static. They aren't conditions that exist that then it is your obligation to identify and catalog. You are the creator of your truths—and what you are living is your truth."

--- Abraham Hicks Hicks Hicke


I wish everyone out there the truths of wellness, hope, and courage.


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Ali's picture
Replies 28
Last reply 11/2/2012 - 3:39pm

Background: radiation and IL-2 in January.  Finished end of May.  End of June found 25 brain mets, and cancer all over the body.  One dose of IPI, began Temodar same day.  12 week post IPI scans came back today:

The nurse practitioner came into the room with the biggest smile on her face.  "Good news?"  I ask, as my smile starts matching hers.  "Yes, just read it."  She handed me the print out from the radiologist.

MRI Brain wwo Cont

"Just skip to the end."


Interval near complete resolution of enhancement associated with multiple metastatic lesions.  Very faint residual enhancement associated with a right frontal parafalcine mass.  No new enhancing lesions, acute ischemia, or hemorrhagic metastases.

Me (kind of tearing up): "So this is uncommon, yes?" 

Her: "This like...never happens." 

She hands me the other report.

PET CT Whole Body

Again I skip the bottom.

1.  Marked interval improvement suggesting treatement response having demonstrated between 50 and 100 hypermetabolic lesions on prior imaging, now demonstrating 4 hypermetabolic lesions.  Lesions include a right adrenal nodule, nodule superior to the right kidney, anterior mediastinal nodule, and right axillary node.
2.  Increased activity withing the right maxilla consistent with periodotal disease.  
3.  Multiple small metastatic lesions demonstrated on the prior MR of the brain are too small to characterize by PET.

You read that right.  4 tumors left.  None of them in the brain.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  I am still in shock.  I know I still have cancer, but lots less, and nothing new.  Such a good day for my little family!  Had to share!

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JerryfromFauq's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 9/15/2012 - 3:53pm

Two things, trying to go to Colorado for a daughters wedding.  @ have gotten delayed leaving because my bloodwork is so bad that they have requested that we not leave driving out until I get a blood transfusion.  Wife has to make wedding dress and other wedding wear after we get there.  I feel fair but always very tired and have been sleeping 10-14 hours most days.  My Oncologist wants me to stop taking the Gleevec for a while and see if the blood levels straighten out.  Hope to contact ya'll later, Good People.

I'm me, not a statistic. Praying to not be one for years yet.

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DebbieH's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 9/12/2012 - 1:16pm

I'm posting this to maybe give some hope to those who are recently diagnosed. 

11+ years ago I found that the tiny stage 1 "lucky to have caught it so early" melanoma had returned to my lymphnodes and I was now stage 3C.  I wasn't hearing much hope from my doctors or where I went for a second opinion.  They were wheeling me into surgery at Univ. of Michigan right after the second tower was falling in NYC so I missed most of what happened that day.  When I woke up I was told I had 3 positive nodes and one had matted and had extracapsular extensions going into a muscle in my back so that was also removed.  My surgeon said he just kept going until he didn't see any more black.  I wanted to do a clinical trial but a brain mri showed "something" there so I didn't qualify and so I did interferon and got through 9 months before I had to quit.  U of M won't do scans (at least not then, not sure if that changed) after stage 3 unless you have symptoms so I had no scanxiety and I think it was easier for me to get on with my life once the side effects of the interferon were gone.  By the way, while it was no picnic, I found it doable and I'm glad I did. 

In the past 11 years I've had 4 more grandchildren, acquired two more by our daughter's marriage, our daughter got married and is very happy and life is very good. 11 years ago I would never have imagined this.  There are plenty more like me on this bulletin board and if you were recently diagnoised, NEVER FORGET THIS.  I don't know what I would have done without this place and I thank the Pattersons for having the wisdom and compassion to begin this bulletin board in their sister's memory.  Never give up, never think of yourself as the number they all drill into us with their statistics.  Good luck to us all.

DebbieH, stage IIIC, NED 11 years today after interferon and no scans 

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