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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ecc26's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 7/7/2016 - 10:31pm

With Roswell Park's relatively new frameless Gamma Knife system, they treated 19 brain mets over the course of about 2 hrs. I have to say, having had 4 procedures with the frame, I can't imagine why anyone would choose that method- I have permanent dents in my skull and each time when the frame came off it took me a long time and a lot of medication to get over what I can only describe as the worst migrane you can possibly imagine (nausea and vomiting inclued) despite some pretty significant pain medication intened to combat that.

I had to get up about half way through because my back doesn't appreciate being in that position and not moving, but so much better, and for anyone that doesn't have that many mets, I expect it would be much easier. They said there was only one other person who had had as long a treatment as I had- drove up from NYC specifically for the frame free for the same reason I was so happy it was available- many mets and many previous treatments. Personal choice, but I am certainly glad I had the frame free option.

Otherwise, starting today steroids are being reduced, though I'll keep the Keppra for a few more weeks. First infusion of the combo Monday morning, so we'll see how that goes, but very happy to have something done about the brain mets. Always worked well for me in the past, hoping it does this time as well.

Good luck to all of you who are in the midst of, or just starting your fight. Please try and take some comfort in the fact that I've been fighting since 2011, have had whole brain radiation and now 5 rounds of Gamma Knife in addition to every FDA approved treatment (one right after the other- often as they became approved). I've never had an any time since the start where I was "in remission" or even "stable" and off meds, but I'm still going. It took me a very long time to come to terms with my disease and be comfortable enough to talk about it with anyone, so you will not get any judgement from me as far as how you come to terms, or what you share/when or what decisions you make for yourself regarding treatment.

I am well aware that every person and their case is different and I've been lucky, but keep fighting, keep looking for the next thing. It's ok to be upset and confused and feel down for a while with new diagnoses and setbacks, just don't stay stuck there. Use this forum, and any other support systems you can fine and lean on them to help keep you going, but don't give up. It's hard, but keep going, get yourself as much time as possible and don't look back and say "I wish..." or "I should have...", just keep looking forward, even when it's hard. We all have a good reason to fight- find that and keep going.


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sister of patient's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 7/7/2016 - 8:48pm

Hi guys,

Just  a quick question on behalf of my sister Leisa - we found out in May that the ipi had gone after her retinas - so, she was put on two kinds of eye drops - prednisone and voltarin. The voltarin will be for life now but she's been tapering from the prednisone.  Last week her sight got really blurry again and yesterday's opthamology check revealed the prednisone has caused cataracts - only 6 weeks of these drops and cataracts - we could hardly believe it.

Anyone else experienced this? And, if so, how long did eye docs wait before treating? Usually, from what I understand, they make you go years sometimes before removing them ... doesn't seem fair with everything else she's having to endure!! I've already done a search on Celeste's blog too but no results returned there.

Thanks for any responses.






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cavsnut's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 7/7/2016 - 1:25pm

2 years ago I go the call from my oncologist office...still vividly remember as I sat at rhe kitchen table for hours, at least it seemed like hours, after she said "positive". I had a positive lymph node... albeit microscopic, it was still goes on I thought, and fortunately for me it I had my 2 year CT scan, blood work and lymph node ultrasound, and remain NED from my stage 3a diagnosis... It was a very arduous decision to watch and wait , but fortunately the right one for me so far...God bless us all...



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Scooby123's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/7/2016 - 12:02pm
Replies by: jennunicorn, Maria C, JoshF

Hi Guys,

Sorry been away a while had a lot on and recovering from Gamma Knife. I went yesterday for my  3 month scans, results next Thursday so a week of worry. So me and my daughter of to majorca for long week end.

Hope you all having a nice day best as you can and i will let you know next week results.



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gigembritt's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 7/7/2016 - 12:34am

I have an apt at MD Anderson next week. But I was wondering if anyone could give me any feedback on my path report.  Most of these terms are way over my head.

Sections reveal a compound proliferation of melanocytes composed of atypical epitheloid cells arranged redominantly in nests along the dermo-epidermal junction and superficial reticular dermis, in association with host respons including lymphohistiocytic infiltrate and mild dermal fibrosis.  In addition, there are smaller melanocytees located adjacent to the larger atypical cells.  A HMB$% immunohistochemical study performed at the referring institution hightlights both the larger melanocytes in a patchy weak fashion, while the smaller melanocytes are essentially negative.  An immunohistochemical study performed on unstained slidescut from a paraffin block recieved using MART1/Ki67 highlights both the melanocyte populations and rare positivity for Ki67 is noted. Thought the atypical melanocytes have come nevoid features, due to the presecense of cytogic atypica and host respone, this lesion is interpreted to represent a melanoma arising in assocation with a nevus.  Therefore, the following parameters will apply:

Melanoma, invasive, nodular type

clark level atleast IV

Breslow thickness at least .44mm

Mitotic figures <1

TIL, Present, non-brisk

Associated melanocytic nevus present predominantly intradermal nevus

predominant cytology, epitheloid and nevoid

Surgical margins: invasive melanoma and nevus present at deep tissue edge. 

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Bubbles's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/6/2016 - 11:38pm

....I just wanted you to know that Miss Pissivity thinks of you often.

Cheers, my friend. Celeste

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keepthefaith11's picture
Replies 26
Last reply 7/6/2016 - 8:22pm

So really bad news. My had had the MRI today even though they could not complete it due to him not cooperating. They were however able to see he has 13, yes, 13 brain mets of varying sizes...

Please, someone give me some guidance..
WHAT do we do now...


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beneficii's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 7/6/2016 - 8:20pm
Replies by: MoiraM

It's hard to get a good look, but I was able to pinpoint the spot in question by recording a video with my back to the computer and putting my hand on. When I feel the spot in green, I notice that it feels kinda rough, crusty, different from the other moles on my back which I either can't feel at all or which have a smooth, flabby bump. In multiple pictures, not just this one, it looks like a mole but it's looks different from the others. Here is the image:

I'm going to try to move up my appointment on 7/21; also, I want to get an earlier-in-the-day appointment.

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Dear MPIP Community:

We still have 10 spots open for the Immunotherapy in Melanoma: A Celebration of Advances event coming up on August 12-13 in NYC. This event is for patients (their caregivers) who are taking or have taken any form of melanoma immunotherapy. Registration is requred by Monday, July 11th. The MRF will reimburse you and one guest up to $300 per person for travel expenses. Travel arrangements must be made by July 20th. Your one night stay in Times Square is also covered, as are all meals associated with the event. An agenda and the registration form can be found at the link above.  All questions can be directed to me at or feel free to give me a call at (202) 742-5945.. 

I hope you can join us!


Shelby - MRF

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/6/2016 - 4:36pm

So I am 3 years out from my original stage 1-2 diagnosis with surgery and negative lymph nodes and there is now a slightly tender round lump near my incision site, about 1/2 inch to the right and just under the skin.  I can feel it as a round bump, about half the size of a marble, a little painful to press on.  Can melanoma present UNDER the skin surface?  With no pigment?  Just a lump?  My original was superficial spreading on the surface, the multicolored flat type of melanoma.  Just got to wondering if the tender painful lump I've been feeling the past month or so might actually be melanoma, but a different type? 

If it is melanoma, and if I bring it up at my next skin check, how do they check to see if it's melanoma?  Does it have to be biopsied?  Ultrasound or CT?

Any and all insights appreciated.

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Patrisa's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 7/6/2016 - 2:21pm
Replies by: Polymath, Patrisa

Hey dear friends, 

can someone please explain the importance of the mentioned marker?

my fathers last report states that his s-100 is  bordeline elevated, his ldh is normal and all other clinical signs are normal... Is this something we should be worried about or it maybe isn't related to mel? It is higher than his levels from the last check up 3 week earlier...

he is otherwise on keytruda and his first pet scan (in may) showed total regression of his mets in the lungs and almost completely gone soft tissue met which was really large...

any input will be greatly appreciated...



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gigembritt's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 7/5/2016 - 9:35pm
Replies by: gigembritt, Janner

My recent path report says that my nodular melanoma is :

Clark level at least IV

Breslow Thickness at least .44mm


No what I am confused about it that it doesnt seem to match up.  The Clark level would put it past a depth .44mm right?

And why do they use "at least" ?





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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/5/2016 - 6:59pm

Doctor decided i should get scans every 6 months after yervoy. Do people usually get ct scans or pet scans. Thanks

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 4
Last reply 7/5/2016 - 10:22am
Replies by: MoiraM, Maureen038, Casitas1

Does anyone know if tooth decay (dental caries) is a known adverse effect of immunotherapy, specifically Keytruda and/or Ipi?

Thank you!

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JoshF's picture
Replies 19
Last reply 7/5/2016 - 10:19am
Replies by: Kimba67, Maureen038, JoshF, Mat, Bubbles, Anonymous, Polymath

HI All-

So things are took off fast this week!!! Been here in Houston since Sunday and have last procedure-leukaphresis tomorrow morning. They say cells should be ready first week of September.

I had 2 sub-q's removed by Dr. Wargo removed on Monday for potential future TIL Treatment. She's her and her PA Liz.

Met with research people on trials. Did all the screening, scans etc... scan wasn't great. Long & short of it was by my guess I have 7-12 tumors in lung, liver, pancreas and in abdominal area. Now that big tumor(s) are gone I think largest tumor was 2.4cm x1.6cm. They were mostly in the 1cm range. I didn't read it...too overwhelming for me. Dr. Diab said though there are a fair amount of tumors; this isn't an extremely large tumor load....and to be optimistic because he is. I guess I was more hopeful that the surgery removed a lot. Some grew a bit while others stayed the same. Apparently some smaller spots not picked up on scan almost 2 months ago are now in that 5mm range. Either sucks.

Dr. Diab is great and gave me a detailed rundown on Adoptive Cell Therapy. Honestly, everyone at MDA is very kind. I know some people think they're overrated. So far I've had good experience. I will start ipi back home in Chicago on Friday. Dr. Diab was going to discuss with Dr. Davies at MDA (my primary onc) and my local oncologist the possibilty of adding some abraxene or dacabarzine. The concern is that while I'm doing gap treatment, if I get colitis or other adverse side effect....I can be excluded from the modfied T Cell trial. It seems counteractive but he has science showing benefit....CELESTE????? Either way, ipi on Friday and probably looking at 2 doses before starting washout for trial. Is 2 doses enough to get a response? This is the scary part...the gap between growing cells and getting to treatment phase.

Still going crazy but have a plan....ang fighting to be optimistic.It's still so surreal how things just went haywire on me. I guess with all the years of just having a sub-q here there was a blessing; I just didn;t see it.

Be Well!!!




Let's work for better treatments....for a cure!!!!

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