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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Joycem's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 8/9/2016 - 2:54pm
Replies by: jbronicki, Joycem, landlover, Anonymous

Hello,Newbie here,  

I had WLE/SLNB for nodular melanoma diagnosed a couple weeks ago when I went to dermatologist for first time to remove a pink skin colored eraser sized bump from upper arm, really for cosmetic reasons. My primary care had looked at it years ago (I hugely underutilized health care until now, despite being a pharmacist, guess that finally caught up with me) and said it was fibroma, nothing to worry about, and maybe it was then (I hope..)

I had grown tired of not wearing anything sleeveless and decided to pay to have it removed even if not covered. 

Saw CNP, she shaved it off out of office in < 30 minutes... Cool. She called me with biopsy report...not cool. Referred to melanoma clinic at Steidman Cancer Center in CLE, couple Dr. /location switches due to insurance issues, concerning but seems ok so far.

Been studying up, (yikes) waiting for appts etc. and appreciate all the shared experiences here already. Valor, generosity kindness and wisdom abound. 

 I found the procedure day today much less unpleasant than anticipated. Indeed the anticipation/dread so far much worse than reality.  Little pain, but curiously wakeful tonight. 10/10 A+ to all staff I encountered at St. John's Med Center, from pre admission to transport to nuclear tech to surgery to recovery. 

Suggestions for dealing with the wait time for results? My mind wants to run ahead with so many ifs and thens, but I feel like it's a bad idea to go down all these mental rabbit trails until I need to. (A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing) 



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BrianP's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 8/11/2016 - 7:52am

Last week I was in efforts to return to my pre-melanoma flying career and purchase a house.  That all changed Tuesday when I got the result back from my latest scan.  After two years of stability and one year off treatment it looks as if my melanoma is on the move again.  To say this sucks doesn't do it justice.  I'm still having a hard time believing it. 

Meeting with Dr. Weber tomorrow to discuss options.  The obvious choice is to restart nivo and hope it picks up right where it left off.  Burning the midnight oil on Trialsl.  I might have some challenges with some of the various trial prerequisites.  Fortuntely right now I only have two small nodes grouped together so having a biopsy and a marker tumor may be difficult if that's a requirement.  If anyone has any idea on trials let me know.  I really like the sound of Josh's trial but again not sure if I would qualify.

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer.  I know anytime there's news like this we all feel a little more vulnerable.  At first I was a pretty down but I'm starting to get the fighting spirit back.  I'll let you know what Dr. Weber says tomorrow.


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Aaron's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 8/10/2016 - 7:12pm
Replies by: BrianP, Ed Williams, KAF, Aaron

Well I guess it's my turn for an mri. I am on the ipi/nivo combo and scheduled to have my fourth treatment next Tuesday. During my third treatment I had a reaction where I broke out in hives during treatment. The about 5-6 days after treatment I developed a low grade fever (99.8) that lasted about 5 days and my forearms were sensitive/sore to the touch. Following my fever days I developed a low grade headache that is barely noticeable but has never gone away. I am now 10 days into this headache roughly and now have a MRI scheduled before my next appt this coming Tuesday. I am sure it is a pituitary issue or something of that sort and am remaining positive that this is is a sign that things are working in my favor.  Just hate that this will probably delay my next treatment as I was hoping to have all 4 done before school/work started back up this fall and would only have the nivo component to deal with. All in good time though. 

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Replies by: gazzz, Ed Williams

has anyone encountered this? When I began Tafinlar + Dabrafinab I did get a slight fever couple of days, but now that I have ceased taking them (after 19 month) I get this fever, particularly at night (and chills of course). It commenced as soon as I came off, and my doc assures my it cannot yet be a side effect of going on to immunotherapy.




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Anonymous's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/4/2016 - 11:43am
Replies by: jennunicorn

I have some questions about screening for melanoma.  I want to start by saying I always have been anxious about my health and as of late Melanoma has worried me.   Melanoma does not run in my family.  I have dark hair and somewhat dark skin but at 35 I never wore sunscreen and this has me bothered.  I had a few decent sun burns growing up but they were rare.   My main concern is that I have a good deal of moles on my body. They are pretty tiny but I worry about them.   I have been to several dermatologists and none of them have ever used a dermascope on me. 

I went to the University of Penn and expressed my concern with them.   The first doctor examined my moles by eye and said everything looked good.  He then went out and brought a team of doctors in and they examined me again.  They said everything looked good.  I asked them all about using a dermascope and they said it was not necessary.  I asked them about mole mapping and they said that I did not need it.  

The doctor told me to come back in a year and that ultimatly I was low risk for melanoma.  I reminded him of my sun exposure and use of tanning beds when I was in college and he said that raises your risk slightly but more than likely you will never see melanoma.  I then asked him about the number of moles I probably have about 150 tiny ones putting me at a higher risk and he said again this raised your risk minimally.  He said he sees people with way more moles than me and most of them will never see melanoma. 

This board is very knowledgable and I wanted to see if this was accurate ?  Thank you for your time.



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Shaneswife's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 8/11/2016 - 7:58pm

Hello. Curious if anyone here is in the trial on interferon or ipilimumab vs. Prembrolizmumab? We are considering this trial for my husband once he's 4 weeks out from his clnd. Looking for feedback about the trial experience.

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Christine.P's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 8/5/2016 - 5:00pm

Long story short, I am stage 4A (primary tumor on left elbow that spread to lymph nodes in armpit and into breast and sternum and 2nd primary in right leg/ lower calf that required a skin graft.) Just had my 3rd dose of ipi/nivo today. A PET scan in May found a new tumor (4mm) above the 2nd primary site in my leg and biopsy confirmed melanoma.

My most recent PET scan (July 30) showed the tumor in my leg is now 7mm and there is an enlarged lymph node in my left groin. I will be having the tumor in my right leg removed soon but I have a question about the left groin.

First, can melanoma appear in the left groin with the closest primary tumor being in the left elbow? My doctor doesn't think it can be melanoma because there is no primary tumor near my left groin. We are doing an ultrasound and posstible biopsy just to be safe. 

Next, how does the ultrasound determine if a biopsy is needed? 

I am not stressing about these procedures, but I cannot find any information on if the lymph node that lit up in my left groin on the PET scan could be melanoma. I realize it could just be inflamed, but I just want to know if it is even possible it could be melanoma that far from the 2 primary sites. 

Also - does anyone know what the radiologist needs to see in an ultrasound to suspect cancer and go ahead with the biopsy? I just like to know what he/she will be looking for. 

Thank you for any info you all may be able to provide. I tried looking for info but I am tired and my  brain is not sharp right now and I just need some help. 

Christine P. 

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 8/5/2016 - 10:55am
Replies by: momof4boys, slh4448, BrianP



any thoughts on clinical trials ?

- How can you find one?

- Should be worried about joining one?

Anyone joined a CT before?



Karim Galil, MD

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Kare83's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 8/14/2016 - 4:03am
Replies by: Kare83, gazzz, JoshF

On my initial path report it says

"There is a moderate lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrate, consistent with a component of regression."

Looking up regression, from what I can tell this is good as it  means the immune system had identified the malignant cells as bad and go about destroying them, right?

Although I have stumbled across a page to help understand Melanoma Path reports and it says that regression can make it hard to work out how extensive the Melanoma was before regression occured. 

Also.. it was a very thin Melanoma, I know, but it states that there was focal invasion of the papillary dermis (0.40mm breslow), and in the wider excision got everything though I am slightly freaking out thinking about blood vessels and things that could help it travel... Is this why they say it can turn up in the lymph nodes later on? Because no one can really be sure if they got it all out?

I feel so bad I shouldn't be falling apart over this when others are really fighting this disease and I hope I am no offending anyone but I just have these bouts of anxiety over it that I can't control. Some days I am fine and others I just lose it! I guess the main positive is that it has made me very aware of covering up moreso and looking after my skin... carrying out monthly skin checks and taking photos of moles to monitor change. I just hate what it does to you mentally!

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Ajwells's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/4/2016 - 4:10am

I read a lot about Yervoy on this forum. I see mostly "I didn't have any side effects" or "my side effects didn't start until the 3rd infusion". 

To be upfront this is adjuvant treatment.  And a lot of what I could find are older articles from like 2011 during clinical trials  

As I lay here a week after my first infusion SO tired. Bone tired. I have yet to make it through a 4 hour shift at work. 

I looked up drug interactions because I'm on a lot of psych meds (Lamictal, Effexor, Buspar, Trazodone) and I didn't find anything, I guess I should trust my oncologist to know. 

I'm trying to eat healthy, drink plenty of water. My appitite is decreased, but it has been decreased for long before the melanoma came along. 

I feel like a pansy. How am I going to take the rest of the treatments when I'm already over it?  I can't take care of 3 kids, work my job, and feel sick all of the time. 

I made the choice along with my doctor to do the treatment because cancer and recurrence run rampant in my family and I'm too damn young and have too much to live for to play games. So I've got to either figure out what to do to deal with the side effects or I need to get less on my plate. 

27 year old mother of three. Diagnosis stage 3a with the primary on my scalp. Currently receiving Ipilimumab as adjuvant treatment. 

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 8/2/2016 - 7:48pm
Replies by: Anonymous, Polymath

I was diagnosed in March with stage 4 melanoma to the lymph nodes, stomach, bone and lungs.  I have done 3 ipi-nivo treatments and 1 nivo treatment.  I didn't get all four of the ipi-nivo combo because the side effects were too severe. My last treatment was on July 1st and that was the nivo only treatment. Since then I have been on steroids for colitis.  I'm not sure when my next treatment will be but oncologist hopes it will be soon. My last PET scan on July 13th showed almost a complete response.  There are still tumors left but they are so small they don't show up on the scan.  The lump under my left armpit is not gone completely but has shrunken a lot. The oncologist told me its probably dead tissue. What I'm wondering is that once the treatment is complete, do they remove the lymph nodes where the cancer first spread too? Or is this something they only do when someone is stage 3? I'm just not sure how much more the one under my arm is going to shrink.  Just a little confused.

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Sflynn's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 8/1/2016 - 7:03pm
Replies by: Lee Parlier

Well.. My update to my last post is not how I thought it would be.. My husband tried a second round of Taf/Mek after it failing the 1st time. He made it 12 weeks this time. He had a repeat MRI and catscan After having to take him to the e.r. For severe head and ear pain. He was admitted due to complications to the progression of the disease. Even on treatment he developed new brain mets, total of 18 now. Ranging in size 10mm all the way up to 3x3cm and is starting to invade the dura on his right temporal lobe..All mets now have started all to hemorrhage. An increase in steroids and anti seizure meds seem to be doing nothing!! Docs are not hopeful being that he is almost 1 year diagnosed. This disease is horrible!!! 

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I feel good about having the chance to speak with my father's melanoma specialist face-to-face while visiting in Europe. The conversation went pretty well I thought.

A bit of a background. My father was diagnosed with Stage 3C back in January. He had seizures few weeks ago and they found 13 brain Mets ranging from 2 millimeters to 13 millimeters in size.

He finished two weeks of WBR and is feeling pretty well as of now. He is still on steroids and anti-seizure medication.

After talking to the doctor and telling her my opinion it seems her plan of action is to do a CT with contrast
to see how the tumors reacted to the radiation. She said if he had a good response they might consider doing stereo active radiation if there are spots left, followed by immunotherapy. If the response was not so great she prefers to start him on the BRAF inhibitors.

Seems she would preferred to keep the Inhibitors in our back pocket should we need them later. She feels if he is stable to get going with immunotherapy since it takes a while to kick in. If he progresses she would switch to the inhibitors.

I feel pretty good about this plan. What do you guys think? Any and all opinions, criticisms, agreements are welcome!

Thank you!!


Ps. I went to the dermatologist today and had my first ever skin check. I seriously thought I was going to have a panic attack right there in the office. They took one mole off my back, the doctor said the worst it would be is atypical. I feel very fortunate.

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sscottmusic's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 8/2/2016 - 7:58am
Replies by: stars, Anonymous, jennunicorn, Andrew1725

My first mm was in 2004. 3 weeks ago they found a 3rd. What does this mean for my future. 


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Replies by: fleurdelis82, Janner

Back in early November 2015 my boyfriend pointed at a weird mole on my waist. A mole had suspicious darker spot in the middle. The area around the mole also looked irritated so it was possible that the irritation and scabbing was from clothing (I recently botught a new pair of jeans and a tag rubbed right where the mole was). However, I made an appointment to check the mole out ASAP. While waiting, I subconsqiously scratched the mole (I am a scratcher) so by my appt the mole had a scab from scratching on top of it. The dermatologist did a shave biopsy (removed the whole thing and some margin of healthy skin around it) which turned out as a "traumatized benign compound nevus". The area healed fine and now there is a scar. There is a slightly brownish area in the center where the mole used to be but nothing suspicious. 

Recently, I have been worried that if that darker spot on the mole was a very early melanoma, my scratching could have removed most of it so that it wasn't detected on pathology. And now these few cancerous cells that were left will grow undetected until the disease is advanced. These thoughts are causing me a great deal of distress. 

Can anyone please help me understand if this is a valid concern or not? Thanks in advance for your help!



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