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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B-Trent's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 10/18/2012 - 10:51pm
Replies by: Swanee, Linny, michelleg

Has anyone had side effects with the Mag3 vaccine?

Monday was the first time I've taken the Mage3 vaccine without a week of HIL-2.  I developed flu like symptoms with a temperature of up to 101.

What has been your experience with the Mage3 vaccine?

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94z28joe's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/26/2012 - 9:54am
Replies by: 94z28joe, Swanee, Anonymous, kellygrl, NYKaren

I got a call from my surgeon thats doing my surgery on next Tuesday and said that a mole i had removed during the visit to go over the surgery to get clean margins on a couple atypical moles came back positive for melanoma. Talk about a punch in the face I was asleep when he called and basically just kind of was stunned after he told me that it was back and almost a year to the day as I found out Oct 20,2011 that i had melanoma the first time that had spread to a lymph node. I'm guessing we caught it alittle earlier this time as he said we are just gonna have to take some more off my ear on next Tuesday. I called after i gathered myself to see if they can send me a copy of the pathology report. It was just a huge slap in the face as it was a newer mole but didn't fit the abcde category he just removed it to be safe and I'm glad he did. So I'm scheduled also to see my oncologist monday morning then, pre-op monday at lunch and then surgery on tuesday fun times.

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scrapps's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 10/18/2012 - 8:43pm
Replies by: gabsound

I am currrently Stage 3a and underwent a full Lymph node dissection 19 days ago. I have a follow-up with my surgeion to hopefully remove my drains and my initial consult wwith the medical oncologisst  to  discuss where to  go from here. My dissection went well overall  with another 17 nodes taken and  all negative. So at this time all they found was my primary and micrometastases in a single  axillary node. I wass wwondering if anyone had suggestions of specific questions I should make sure to ask when I meet with the oncologist later today.  I feel like treatment options wwill be discussed but ultimately it  wwill be left up  to  me and I want to make ass educated  a decision as possible.


35 y/o Stage 3a

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sandywebb's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 10/18/2012 - 2:45pm
Replies by: Roxy1453, kylez, Anonymous

Waiting for next scan in early November for Lung Met, Showed up 2 months ago for my 5 year NED from stage 3b. If it is "real" what are my options? Have been clear for 5 years since being a 3b NED since 2007. Did the Interferon for the Complete Course and am dealing with Lymphedema on the lower right side and am having a very,very hard time coping with the possible realization that "it" is back. What is the typical approach to this?

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Waiting for next scan in early November for Lung Met, Showed up 2 months ago for my 5 year NED from stage 3b. If it is "real" what are my options? Have been clear for 5 years since being a 3b NED since 2007. Did the Interferon for the Complete Course and am dealing with Lymphedema on the lower right side and am having a very,very hard time coping with the possible realization that "it" is back. What is the typical approach to this?

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Sorry to keep asking questions about interferon, but this is the particular part of the maze in which we find ourselves just now.

Hans (stage 3B) began the high-dose treatment yesterday.  So he's only two days in, granted.  And I know that each person reacts differently.  But wow!  I must say, I'm kinda surprised at how little it's affected him thus far.  His treatment is late afternoon, and both days he had some chills after.  He came home and lay on the couch, drank some tea, and within a few hours was good to go.  Went out the barn for 1+ hour at 10 pm or so, as usual.  Got up early today and was out there working as per the norm until we left for his next infusion.  Really?!  Is it too good to be true?  Or are they doing the hydration and anti-nausea meds and forgetting to give the actual drug? ;-)  Seriously, I'm curious (as always!) to hear how it played out for others.  Is it more of an accumulative effect, or...?



Keep on keeping on.

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bikerwife's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/16/2012 - 11:40pm

Hi everyone, Lynn is on his sixth month of zelobraf and is doing well. the only problem we are having is joint pain and those nasty skin issues. small price to pay for living. our problem is after brain radiation last Dec he lost from 170 to 128 he has gained back up to 134 but cant seem to gain any or get muscle mass back. has anyone got any suggestions.  we have 2nd set of scans in nov and has done well since his 2nd gamma knife treatment.

What God leads u to he will. Lead you through

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NYKaren's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 10/20/2012 - 8:43pm
Replies by: NYKaren, shellebrownies, Anonymous, aldakota22, Fen, lhaley

I went for screening today, and I am enrolled in a research study of  DPCP at Rockefeller University Hospital.  Dr. James Krueger is running the trial.  

I go for my first appointment Monday morning; they will do a biopsy on one of my many mets, ultrasound, bloodwork, photography and some other stuff.   At this appointment, they apply the medicine to a spot on each arm and on one met.  this is to see if my skin responds to it (they call it sensitizing) and I'll know if i respond by a rash.  Possibly very itchy and even blister-y.  Who knew i'd ever be wishing for a rash!

According to Dr. Krueger, in studies done in Australia, the  response rate is 50%.  Highest odds I've gotten yet.

I am cautiously optimistic and I feel lucky to be in this small study.  There will be only about 12 other participants.  The drug company, Hapten Pharmaceuticals, is small and does not have the money for a larger study/trial.  It's being funded by a variety of sources, one of which is a private foundation.  

At the same time, I will be part of a larger study (60 people) for something called a Melanoma Advanced Imaging Dermascope (mAID).  it is  new device that may predict if a skin lesion is likely to be cancerous or not.  The goal is to noninvasively predict the prognosis of a lesion to avoid the occurences of unnecessary biopsies.  Good stuff.

I'll keep you guys posted.


Don't Stop Believing

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Becky's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 10/17/2012 - 12:54am
Replies by: DonW, NYKaren, Phil S

My son Ben was feeling realy sick recently...really swollen lymph nodes on his neck. He was just about to travel to Baltimore to visit friends and then to Finland for 6 weeks (he met a girl...). His doctor did a needle biopsy on his neck becuase he was not sure what was gong on. He ended up in the ER in Baltimore where they did a test for Mono.

Ends up he has Mono...goes to Finland anyway (new love) and is starting to feel better. I was so happy to hear thats what it was, as opposed to the cancer rearing its ugly head. It is weird how our perspective changes.I hate melanoma.

I read the posts daily and keep everyone in my thoughts. I am still heart broken about Kevin. Keep fighting the fight!!



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Souxie_q's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/17/2012 - 6:32pm

I just want to thank y'all for posting about your experiences with Zelboraf. My sisters story starts with a melanoma mole removed when she was 18. At age 39 she was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, stage 3. At the time she lived in Houston and was able to go to MD Anderson for the start of her interferon treatment. But has since moved to PA. She, after complaining of stomach pain, was diagnosed with gastritis in August 2012. She lost 13 pounds in a month and lived with this pain. In mid September she went back to the ER and when they did a CT it showed mets in her liver, pancreas and lungs. She is 45 and has a 13 yr old daughter and is a single mom.
She went home and awaited Yervoy to get approved, in the meantime her cancer grew and she was hospitalized again oct 7th. I flew in to be with her and have slept in the hospital for 5 nights now. It's unbelievable to me how much this has progressed already.
Good news today is that she is BRAF + and instead of Yervoy they will be giving her zelboraf. I'm SO hopeful that she will do well on this treatment. We just lost our mom to a pulmonary embolism in Jan and as a family, have dealt with so much. I just want to wish all of you well, fighters, survivors, family members. And thank you for sharing your stories, it makes the uncertainty a little more bearable.

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sharmon's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 10/16/2012 - 7:01pm
Replies by: Anonymous, NYKaren, lhaley, sharmon, swissfarm7, King, rosa1

Brent was at Dr. Webers office on Wednesday and was told MERCK Anti pd-1 trial had an opening for him and it was in about 3 weeks.   Got a call today from his nurse after we called to find out about upcoming scans and blood work  and  the trial cordinator  used the word ( accural ) .   The long and short of it is that the trial is full.   The company is not taking anymore people. What can a person do to keep from losing their flippin mind.  There has got to be a better way to manage these  trials from the drug companies.  People are dying and the new drugs are out there!

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Sherron's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 10/15/2012 - 2:56pm
Replies by: rosa1, Swanee, aldakota22

Have not seen her post in a while...just thinking about her....Also this is not melanoma related, but cancer 85 year old mother has been

diagnosed with esophagus cancer.  I would appreciate prayer in her behalf.  2 years ago this time, I was taking Jim to the VA every 14 days for blood

transfusions....This is extremely hard to think about all that and now dealing with cancer with my sweet mother.    Thinking of you all and wishing you all 

the very best....Hoping Lisa is okay.


Take Care,


Sherron, wife to Jim FOREVER

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swissfarm7's picture
Replies 21
Last reply 10/17/2012 - 10:43am
Replies by: Anonymous, swissfarm7, Mandi0280, DebbieH, POW, lhaley, jmmm, piii, Cooper

Oh, to have had a crystal ball and changed insurance plans six months ago when the opportunity presented itself!  But, as an ultra-healthy family, we've been comfortable for years with our coverage.  It's a very basic plan and met our needs, but it doesn't include prescription drug coverage.  I've only realized that this means the low-dose interferon won't be picked up by our insurance. 

Yes, in the ongoing ridiculousness that is health insurance, the high-dose (administered daily at the infusion oncology clinic) is covered.  The low-dose (second phase, administered at home) is not.  And I can only imagine the price tag on this stuff. 

Have any of you here been in this situation?  If so, how did you handle it?  Thank you!  Tomorrow's the Big Day, btw, when Hans will begin treatment.  Call me crazy, but I'm on pins and needles.  Just want to get going with it already, kwim?!



Keep on keeping on.

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chalknpens's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 10/14/2012 - 10:49pm
Replies by: aldakota22, dellriol

Hi all,

I just had my first quarterly follow up after summer-long surgeries on two melanoma sites, two basal and one squamous (along with eight cryo-surgeries.)

The dermatologist checked me head to toes, and found only two sites on my face; he treated those with cryosurgery again.

Nothing to biopsy for this round. I'll see him again in three months. What a relief to not have surgeries through the holidays ahead!

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I am not perfect, but I am enough.

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amandamini's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/19/2012 - 8:05pm
Replies by: amandamini, Anonymous, mel123, POW, Janner, dellriol

Hi all,


I was diagnosed with stage 2 Melanoma Oct. 2012.   I gave birth to a beautiful and heathy baby girl in May of this year.  During this pregnancy my husband saw a mole on my back and asked me how long I have had it.  I looked in the mirror and thought huh?  I don't recall seeing it before.  But maybe I just never noticed it. After all it is on my back. That was it.   Strange how unconcerned I was.  I was not educated on skin cancer at all!  I finally decided to make an appointment to get it checked out.  The Derm did the biopsy and a week later got the diagnoses.  So here I am...  Terrified for myself and my family.

 Tomorrow I am going into surgery to have the SNB and the excision. This week they did a Lymphoscintogram and located the sentinal node or I should say nodes as it went to 2 places.  Both my arm pits.  My first question is how is it staged when they do not know if it has spread?  When the Derm.  called me he said that it was 1.00mm which is stage 2.  Everything I have read indicates to me that it really has not been staged yet.  Also he referred me to a plastic surgeon.  Should I go to an oncologist?  Also diet-  I have read a lot about vegan diets and how it can help your body fight cancer.  I would love to hear any and all thoughts on this.

I would love to hear your stories as well!


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