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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jackiewin's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 11:33pm

A while ago, someone posted the phone number for Southwest Airlines reduced rates tickets for medical travel.  I would appreciate it if someone has the number they would post it.  This time, it's not MM i'm dealing with.  I was diagnosed with lung cancer and will trekking to MDA again.


Jackie W

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Lucassi's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 10:11pm
Replies by: Lucassi, Janner

My husband Mike has stage V melanoma. (acral lent. with spread to lung)   He is scheduled for his fourth Yervoy infusion on Tuesday.  Has been tolerating the treatment well with no side effects other than fatigue.  However, he does have several (at least 4)  new mole-like bumps on his upper right leg about the size of a pencil eraser..  (same leg as primary tumor on rt. great toe).  The oncologist agreed that it is most likely melanoma but said that if the moles did not bother him he does not need to remove them at this time. Thinks they can be used as a marker to measure if the Yervoy is working.  I have been thinking about the situation and I believe it would be better to remove the moles.  Could it not be possible that these moles are a second primary?  What if the Yervoy does not work.  That would mean that these moles will just get bigger and become more invasive.   Although I am not a doctor, these moles look like nodular melanoma to me.  Has anyone else have a similar experience.   Your opinions would be greatly appreciated. 


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/17/2012 - 2:51pm
Replies by: bcl, mantonucci, Charlie S


I'm a reporter working on a story about a recent congressional report suggesting tanning salons regularly give misinformation to would-be customers, particularly young women. I am posting in hopes of connecting with anyone here who took part in indoor tanning in the past and can tell me about their experience. Please feel free to contact me here or off list at bridget.huber [at] Thanks in advance for your help! -- Bridget

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panda's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 9/26/2012 - 8:37am

Hi everyone... just a quick question... it will sound relatively mild but ive been wondering. My father passed away from stage four melanoma two years ago. i went and had mine checked and i had a melanoma in very early stages on my back.. so i had it removed with a two centimetre margin. Have had a mole map and all other moles look ok, so im told... i have a rather large mole, size of tip of little finger lower abdomen area.... i have been told it does NOT look like a melanoma.. However im curious? it was quite small about ten years ago... a sort off tiny dot size.. it has grown over ten years... and is now almost size of tip of little finger area... but i am still told it does not look like melanoma.... Isnt a growing mole a sign of something not quite right? or is it normal for them to grow in size/???? also, should i just get it removed and checked anyway. The doctor and skin specialist tells me there is not cause to worry?? so should i believe them... or err on the side of caution?? thankyou all replies will be read and appreciated. 

today is a gift and thats why its called the present

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robbier's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 2:02am
Replies by: JerryfromFauq

Well tomorrow I go for a cat  scan, then next Tuesday I will go so my Oncologist to get the result.  so far I have been in remission for 9 months now, and looking forward to getting a good report next week at checkup.  I can't believe that its been 9 months since surgery for melanoma,  classified at stage lll either A or B depending upon which Doctor you ask.   Haven't been to site lately, have decided to go to school and take a few classes.  Reapplying how to add, multiply and divide fractions.   

I believe in God and his son Jesus, I know that this is not everyones belief. I know that God has me in his hand, I might not like what I am going through but God is the one that gives me strength fromd day to day.

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Kimberly Duncan Watts's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 9:26am

Scans yesterday. Prelim report in35 mins. Please please send what I call a ZAP prayer for NED.... Hugs for it and continued prayers for everyone. Thanks from the very depths of my heart and soul!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/12/2012 - 8:43pm
Replies by: Janner, washoegal

Once melanoma enters the VGP, does that mean that the mole starts to raise up or form a visible tumor? Can a VGP melanoma be flat?

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LibbyinVA's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 1:34pm

Just PET scan still the best for determining metastasis of melanoma? It's been a while since I have done my homework in this area. If this is still true, does anyone have any suggestions on appealing insurance company denial of a PET scan?

I have melanoma but melanoma does not have me!

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Becky's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 6/13/2012 - 9:30pm


I don't post often but read these boards daily. As a recap, my son Ben was dx with MM in June 2009, right before his 21st birthday. It was very rare oral melanoma (tongue) that had spread to one lymph node. 2 surgeries and one year of interferon.

He had been getting scans every 6 month and was due for one in january. But he was planning a 3 month trip to Europe ( your typical euro-rail pass-backpack-youth hostel trip with a buddy) and I think he was afraid they would find something on the scan and he wouldn't be able to go, so he asked the doctor to put it off till he got back. So, my scanxiety was even higher since it had been almost  year since his last one.

Just got the rresults, still NED..feeling very blessed!

Keep fighting everyone


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Anonymous's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 7/12/2012 - 6:45pm
Replies by: Sia, Cindy33, Anonymous, alicia, KMW1011, AngelaM, Janner

Was it the same type of melanoma (superficial spreading if first was, etc)?  Did it grow and change? Was it deeper or more shallow than your first melanoma?

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CancerNetwork and the journal ONCOLOGY present exclusive melanoma coverage from the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Below we present an exclusive interview with Michael B. Atkins, MD, who discusses some of the most important information to come out of this year's meeting and talks about the future of melanoma research.


Treatment of Melanoma: Latest Treatments and Emerging Therapies

CancerNetwork: There seem to be two principal promising avenues of therapy now for patients with metastatic melanoma: targeted, oncogene-directed therapy, and immunotherapy. The mechanisms of action involved in these two approaches are very different. Could you briefly summarize what you see as the greatest strengths and weaknesses of the two approaches?

Dr. Michael Atkins: The benefit of immunotherapies is that they can produce durable responses in a small subset of patients off the treatment and appear to work in patients with both BRAF mutant and BRAF wild-type melanomas. The benefit of the molecularly targeted therapies is they produce a high level of tumor shrinkage and survival benefits in a large proportion of patients with BRAF mutant melanomas. Those responses are likely short lived on a median of 6 to 8 months progression-free survival, but for patients with symptomatic disease who need a response, the high degree of response is a major benefit.

Click here to read more from this exclusive interview . . .


ASCO: MEK Inhibitors—Alone or Paired With a BRAF Inhibitor—Increase Options, Benefits for Patients With BRAF-Mutated Advanced Melanoma

At the ASCO annual meeting, researchers presented persuasive evidence that a new class of targeted agents-MEK inhibitors-may warrant inclusion in the growing armamentarium for patients with advanced BRAF-mutated melanoma.

ASCO: Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) Inhibitor One of the "Most Exciting" New Melanoma Agents

The class of agents that target the programmed death 1 (PD-1) pathway was described at ASCO as "likely the most exciting new agents recently developed in melanoma."

ASCO: Phase II/III Data Establish Dabrafenib as Second BRAF Inhibitor With Proven Efficacy in Metastatic Melanoma

Mature data from a phase III trial of dabrafenib vs dacarbazine (DTIC) as well as a phase II study assessing intracranial response to dabrafenib establish the drug as the second BRAF inhibitor with proven efficacy in V600-mutated melanoma.

ASCO: Expert Panel Explores Questions Regarding Drug Selection, Drug Sequencing in Advanced Melanoma

The new therapies that became available for advanced melanoma over the past year—the anti-CTLA4 antibody ipilimumab (Yervoy) and the selective BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (Zelboraf)—represent promising new options for these patients, whose prognosis was heretofore almost universally dismal. However, the advent of new treatment strategies has made treatment decisions more complex.

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

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Jessmoon's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 9:55pm

My husband is 9 months post diagnosis of metastatic melanoma (had small lump on leg that was removed and diagnosed as metastatic melanoma with unknown primary site.  There were no melanoma cells in the epidermis and 3 pathologists confirmed metastatic melanoma).  After being seen at Mayo clinic for a second opinion, we have been doing Leukine injections for nearly 9 months with CT scans every 3 months. His scan today demonstrated a 2mm liver nodule.  Our local oncologist stated this wasn't anything to worry about.  I have two questions:

1.  Has anyone else had liver lesions this small turn out to be metastatic disease?  We are having a repeat scan in 3 months.

2.  He will soon hit the 1 year mark and our local oncologist is recommending just having scans completed annually? I thought he would need to continue at least scans every 6 months for a couple years. What are other oncologists recommending for follow up? 

I find this disease to be so frustrating because nothing is cut and dry-there are no specific studies that indicate how often testing needs to be completed....I'd rather be on the safe side and have scans more often.

Whew, thanks everyone. I am on this site often and appreciate all the info!


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NYKaren's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 6/13/2012 - 4:53pm

Hi everyone.

So, as previously posted, had to stop Yervoy after 3 infusions due to pretty serious colitis.  Last infusion was 4/29; still dealing w/colitis.   Have already done radiation and IL-2.  After initial positive signs, was not a responder to either. 

After weaning off steroids 3 weeks ago, still experiencing extreme weakness, no appetite--loss of 20 lbs, even on Prednisone, and still  diarrhea with daily use of either Lomotil or Immodium and still on Endocort EC.

Endo. says my Adrenal gland never woke up after Pred. wean, so she started me on 15 mg./day of Hydrocort.  It is stopping the diarrhea and doesn't seem to have the horrible side-effects the Pred. did.

I don't think the Yervoy did anything...the mets on my face are on the move again, after halting during the Yervoy treatment.  The one under my chin that i was "saving" for "measurable disease" eligibility for Anti-Pd1 trial is bigger.

Spoke w/Dr. Wolchok today (seeing him next Thurs. after chest/abdomen CT).  He feels that the it would be dangerous for me to be in the Anti PD-1 trial. All those hopes--gone.  He thinks that I should have the met under my chin removed.   (I'm continuing to have the new mets frozen & applying Aldera.  Putting Aldera on my face--I might as well be applying Ponds cold cream--it does absolutely nothing.)   I asked him if the big side effect to worry about from PD-1 is pneumonia, what the problem is, he said that A) colitis has been reported, and B) he just won't take the chance.   And besides, all the seats at Sloan for the newest BMX trial version (Anti-PD1 after Ippi) are now filled.  

So, unless something develops on the CT scan next week, it looks like my  next step will be chemo. (Has to be CT, not PET to monitor colitis--there is now some kind of lump that moves when I touch it on my collar-bone--Dr. W. said if it's something, it should show up on CT, and he'll say more about it after he sees me).   I know it was stupid to hang my hat one one treatment, but I did.  I know I'm only IIIc unresectible (hopefully still.)  I'm just worried because the mets are spreading fast again, in my ear and from scalp to below chin.  I know I need to look at those around here at people so much worse off than I, put some gratitutide in my attitude and pull up the bootstraps again.  I just need a little help with that today. 

Please don't let this be one of those days that nobody responds to my post, even if you write to kick my ass, I need you guys.



Don't Stop Believing

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ladylite77's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 6/14/2012 - 3:33pm

I am wanting to know (out of curiosity) if there is a time limit on interferon treatment after diagnosis? I was diagnosed 1 year and 3 mos ago...did surgery, etc. I am stage III metastatic(lymph nodes). I decided not to do interferon after lots of research and specialist input. However, I am now questioning that decision . Is it too late to change my mind? There are many factors causing me to ask this question...I think I will post them in another place.

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skgharst's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 6/12/2012 - 1:42am

My father has stage 4 mastitic melenoma. He started 3 weeks ago w/ Zelboraf, and he had been having mucus/heavy saliva/spit that makes him cough . He thought it may be sinus drainage & doesn't want to think about how it could be the melenoma. He  is wondering if it could be a side effect  of the drug. Has anyone else experienced anything similar?

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