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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Ridingaroundwith27Jennifers's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 9/27/2018 - 2:05pm

Hi All,

I have my routine brain MRI scheduled for Monday.  I've started calling it "Brain Day".  I schedule my neuro appointments after the scan and take the day out of work.  I try not to stress and bring a good book and just hang out on Fenwood and Francis streets and then bounce over to good old Brookline Ave.  My boss has started rejecting my vacation days for Brain Day and just let's me take the day.

For those of you in the midst of the darkness remember there is light.  Things get better.  You heal.  You persevere.  You survive.  Chin up if you can.  Use humor.  Draw strength from others.  

Good wishes to you,


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Hi Everyone,

I posted a while ago about my daughter's pathology report (she is 11) and wanted to give an update and had a few questions. 

She had 2 moles removed and originally one of them came back as a combined mole with features of a spitz nevus and features of a halo (she did not have a halo around the mole it just showed inflammation on pathology) so we were sent to a pediatric specialist. Thankfully the local children's hospital opened a Melanoma and nevus clinic last fall. Her dermatologist was great and requested to get the original slides to have their dermatopathologist look at them since she said they have had kids sent there with a melanoma diagnosis that ended up not being melanoma and vice versa and wanted to wait to see what they said before deciding what to do. It seemed like an eternity but after a few weeks her Dr called and said their pathologist didn't see spitz like the other pathologists but that they saw a combined nevus with clonal or inverted type a along with the halo features even though she did not have an actual halo. She said she did not need to go back in and do a WLE but she would need to follow up more often and see her again in 6 months so we were very thankful for that! 

The mole was removed by shave biopsy just over 8 weeks ago and it is still painful to touch (we thought it was just the healing process) and unlike the one removed on her leg it is now raised, even more than the original mole was. She also has a much smaller mole that is close to where the original mole was that she was complaining was also hurting/itching and it was slightly pink on one side of that mole. We only had them look at the original mole because she kept saying it was itchy and bothering her. It doesn't look infected or anything but I called her dermatologist this week and they want her to come back in next week to look at it but I just wanted to see if this is common and just part of the healing process or if anyone else has experience something like this? I was also wondering if anyone has any information about the difference between a combined nevus with spitz and one with clonal/inverted type a. We were told spitz looks similar to melanoma so do clonal/inverted type a also look like melanoma? Thanks!!

Pathology info:

Combined melanocytic nevus with focal epithelioid cells and features of a ‘halo’ nevus note: The features are compatible with a so-called “clonal nevus” or “inverted type A nevus” The epithelioid component has been regarded by some to represent a superficial variant of deep penetrating nevus.

Microscopic: There are nests, cords and strands of small, monomorphous melanocytes within the dermis where there are also focal nests of larger epithelioid melanocytes that have abundant cytoplasms containing fine, dusty melanin and rare admixed melanophages. There is also a dense lymphocytic inflammatory infiltrate within the dermis that focally obscures the melanocytes. A panel of immunostains was provided for review. BAP-1 expression is retained throughout the lesion, which is a 
normal finding. The remainder of the stains are non-contributory.

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JennH's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 9/24/2018 - 12:33pm
Replies by: JennH, MMH, Janner, MelanomaMike

Hello, I am newly diagnosed with what is being called Spitzoid type Melanoma. I am currently awaiting Wide Excision surgery and Sentinal Node Biopsy. I am curious if someone can help put the Pathology report into Lehman's terms. I understand the staging, depth and clarks, but beyond that, can't wrap my head around the seriousness, if any. Can someone help? I had two biopsies performed, the first is listed first.

Malignant melanoma, spitzoid type.
Breslow measurement: At least 1.1 millimeters.
Clark's level: IV.
Surface ulceration: Absent.
Precursor lesion: Not identified.
Regression: Not identified.
Lymphocytic response: Nonbrisk.
Mitotic index: 1/mm 2.
Lymphovascular channel involvement: Not identified.
Neurotropism: Not identified.
Satellite lesions: Not identified.
Margins: Tumor extends to the deep and lateral margins.
Tumor staging: At least pT2aNxMx.
See comment.


This case was sent for consultation to Dr. Pedram Gerami at North Western Medical Group Department of Dermatology. His additional comments are as follows:

''The sections show a markedly atypical spitzoid melanocytic neoplasm. There is high grade nuclear atypia, notable pleomorphism and lack of maturation. FISH studies showed chromosomal copy number gains in 6p25 and 11q13 in greater than 50% of enumerated cells consistent with a diagnosis of Spitzoid melanoma. Homozygous deletions at 9p21 were not identified.
FISH evaluation using probes for Cyclin D1, RREB1, MYB and CEP6 were performed. These probes are approved as analytic specific reagents. In our laboratory, this probe set performed with a sensitivity of 86.7% and specificity of 95.4% in distinguishing benign nevi from melanoma. Thirty cells were enumerated. Less than 55% of cells showed relative gain of RREB1 but greater than 30% of cells show absolute gain of RREB1. The average MYB per CEP6 loss is less than 40%. Greater than 38% of cells had gain in Cyclin D1. The average nuclear signals for CEP6 was less than 2.5. We also performed FISH targeting 9p21 and CEP9 and there is no evidence of homozygous deletions.''



Preoperative Diagnosis: A. ICD: D48.9 NUB, Nevus, R/O atypia. B. ICD: D48.9 NUB, Nevus, R/O atypia.
Postoperative Diagnosis:
Symptoms/Radiologic Findings:


A. There are uniform clusters of benign appearing nevus cells in the dermis. A junctional component is not appreciated.

B. Sections show a spitzoid melanocytic proliferation confined to the dermis. The overlying epidermis shows acanthosis. The melanocytes have an epithelioid morphology with scattered pleomorphic cells. To better evaluate this lesion, the following immunohistochemical stains are performed and compared to appropriate stained controls: Melan-A/Ki-67 dual stain, HMB-45, P16. The Melan-A/Ki-67 dual stain demonstrates an intradermal proliferation of epithelioid cells with a slight increase in the proliferation index. The HMB-45 demonstrates variable staining. The P16 demonstrates loss of p16 in areas.

Malignant melanoma, spitzoid type.
Breslow measurement: At least 2.5 millimeters, focally transected at the base.
Clark's level: At least IV, focally transected at the base.
Surface ulceration: Absent.
Precursor lesion: Not identified.
Regression: Not identified.
Lymphocytic response: Non-brisk.
Mitotic index: Less than one per square millimeter.
Lymphovascular channel involvement: Not identified.
Neurotropism: Not identified.
Satellite lesions: Not identified.
Margins: Tumor extends to the deep margin.
Tumor staging: At least pT3aNX.



Preoperative Diagnosis: ICD Code: D48.9 NUB. Biopsy proven spitzoid melanoma reshave for micro staging.


Sections show a markedly atypical spitzoid melanocytic neoplasm confined to the dermis. The lesion shows variable cellularity with frequent pleomorphic cells and multinucleated cells. The melanocytes fail to mature with decent into the dermis. The lesion is transected at the deep margin through the deep reticular dermis.

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daveofduncan's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/20/2018 - 1:37pm

Hey folks.

I'm new here. I'm currently on holiday over in the states. I was getting upset about sunburn I developed yesterday. Spoke to my gf back home and she directed me here.

The issue is, I've been mega paranoid about the sun since my diagnosis in late '15 and op early' 16. I've been on two other holidays, benidorm and hawaii (both in 2017) there was no major issues there thankfully. But I forgot to put lotion on yesterday and ended up standing in the sun for over 1hr 30 yesterday afternoon. I was waiting on my nfl team finishing practice here in Charlotte,NC.

Well after getting back to my friend's house. I've developed this massive red mark of sunburn on my right bicep/tricep area. It's the worst sunburn I've had for quite some time. Left arm seems to have dimmed and cooled down, as has my neck (initial melanoma area) but my right arm is still hot and red. I've been use aloe Vera gel since.

I fly back to Scotland tomorrow and I'm feeling so paranoid about it developing into something much worse.

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Spl25's picture
Replies 3
Last reply 9/20/2018 - 9:12pm

Has anyone else experienced pain in areas where tumors used to be? Did you do anything about it?

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LordKelvyn's picture
Replies 8
Last reply 9/21/2018 - 4:35pm

Five years ago I was diagnosed with stage IIIA melanoma and after surgery I did a year of interferon, which was the only game in town then. Recently my melanoma has re-presented and after surgery my oncologist has recommended nivolumab as immunotherapy.

The literature says that nivolumab isn't anywhere near as toxic/debilitating as interferon, but I'm wondering if there's anybody here that has done both and can give me an objective opinion on the differences...


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Belltown's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 9/22/2018 - 1:21pm

Found this board many months ago and have found it incredibly helpful.  This is my first post.  

My younger brother, age 57, has Stage IV Melanoma and has been on oral targeted therapy (dabrafenib and trametinib) for 10 months (since November 2017.)   His oncologist just told him today that he wants to switch him to ipilimumab and nivolumab via I.V. infusions.  I have done enough reading to have a good sense of what this means and why, but I can't find anything that indicates the interval between stopping the oral regimen and starting the I.V. regimen.   Does anyone have a sense of what that could be?  Thank you.

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Anonymous's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 9/20/2018 - 1:14pm



I'm 22 yrs old and I recently noticed a small nodule near my neck. 

I took an appointment with a dermatologist as soon as I've seen it. 

It's there for about 1 month and a half, but at first I didn't research on it because it came from a pre-existing mole and the mole was just getting a bit bigger. so I thought it was normal...

Now there's a small nudule (1,5mm).

I have a biopsy next wednesday and i'm stressed out.

I know that it's not a good idea to look on the internet, but it says that most of Nodular melanoma are already in a advence stage when you can see it or touch it...

I'll wait for results... Hopefully it's not deep and I can cure it.

Anyone have stories on a nodular melanoma? 

Is there a lot of chance I survive ? 

I'm scared.

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Bubbles's picture
Replies 14
Last reply 9/21/2018 - 6:05pm

I will never be able to fully express what your outpouring of support has meant to me over these past weeks.  You have all been a light in my darkness.  Your messages on the board, my blog and via email have warmed my soul, brought sweet tears, and made me laugh.  These are no small things!  I have also been enjoying a beautiful bouquet!  While I am unsure where to direct my thanks specifically, it has been a lovely treat.

MPIP is indeed a special place because of each of us!!  Yes, just as in families and the best communities, we each have our own special niche.  It often falls to Janner to help coax the newly diagnosed down from their perch with grace and patience, simultaneously walking them through their path report with skill.  I have seen many more of you stepping up here as well.  Yes, I have long been the resource for "data explained", researched "one more option" for my dear Stage IV peeps in need, and certainly pursued my various soap boxes over the years....

+ YES!  Immunotherapy works in the brain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
+ YES!  People deserve anti-PD-1 even though ipi is available!
+ Adjuvant care is real and valuable and needed!!!
+YES! YES!  YES!  Radiation and immunotherapy work better together and therefore can and SHOULD be administered together!
+ YES!!!  You can and SHOULD treat side effects of immunotherapy, even with steroids if needed.
+ Immunotherapy takes time.  Be patient with the patient.

You've heard them all!  Over and over and over!!!!  But, the good news is ~ I almost don't have to say them anymore!!!  In the beginning, when the world was new and there was no treatment for melanoma (anytime before 2011!!!!) and the years immediately following, it was a battle to get local oncs to provide access to the care we gradually had coming on line!  But thanks to all of you....we've come a long way baby!!!

As to researching help for those in need...there is no one who can find the right expert, talking about the right thing, at the right time and HOOK YOU UP!!!!..better than our dear Edster!  He may be only a mouse, but he is a keeper!!!  Eric W is a researcher extraordinaire and has become a force to be reckoned with in parsing trial exclusion criteria.  Partially due to their own travails, Brain P, Bill, Mat, Gary, and many others have become excellent advocates and experts at outside the box treatments...TIL, immunotherapy combo's...sharing what they've learned with skill.  I think we all need to work to make sure that intralesionals (like PV-10) are employed when they are an option, given the data and responses like those of Texmelanomex!!  (Yes, I know.  I'm still pushing!)

Mark_DC, Niki (Cancersnewnormal), Susan (Casagrayson), Sabklyn, and so many others give out thorough, intelligent caring advice daily.  Julie (Julie in SoCal) {Who has damn sure been through more than her fair share!!!!!} and Jenn (Jennunicorn) do the same with some good intell for those seeking adjuvant care.  We are truly blessed to have saints among us ~ Rob (Adriana Cooper) and Maria (maperny) ~ still here for us, holding us up in spite of their own great personal losses.  And while all voices and hugs come through the internet (Just like those t cells in the brain!!!!  I'm telling you!!!) some like those of Scooby and Melanomamike shoo the darkness from every corner!!!!

And, since there is no Camelot, we do need our deputies who keep our world productive and supportive.  Perhaps, because he is a mouse, The Edster can smell at rat at 20 paces!!!!  And while we love and admire ratties, folks here to cause strife, mislead, sell us "REAL LIVE COUNTERFEIT" - are not welcome.  Mike, Beth, NSNewf, and many others have proven their dedication in keeping this board a helpful, caring, and safe place.  You can bet that any number of our peeps will be ready to answer any newly arrived crackpot, touting, "When you imbibe only blue M&M's, taken three at a time, the third Wednesday of the month, just as the sun sets below a lone cloud...your melanoma will be gone!!!"  ...or any other sometimes more legit sounding shenanigans!!!  I mean to each his own, but we have to protect those still uninformed and desperate among us!  But, y'all don't need me to tell you that!!!

And that's the point isn't it?  Y'all got this!!!!  All of you I noted and the many, many, many other dear peeps I have not (though you are bright in my mind!!!!) ARE MPIP!!!!!  It is just that simple.  YOU are what makes the forum valuable in ever so many ways to ever so many peeps across the globe!! Keep up the good work.  It means more than you will ever know. 

This is not goodbye.  Lord knows, I could be in a rant on the board tomorrow!!!!  You all know I have never been one for secrets.  So, I wanted all of you who had interest to know that I have not dropped off the planet.  I will still be around.  You can always reach me via this board or my blog.  But, I have a long way to go...  And I'm not even sure where I am going.  That doesn't mean I won't get there!!!!  But, it might take me a minute.

You have no idea the kick it has given me to see "melanoma peeps" and "ratties" and "Melanoma sucks great big stinky green hairy wizard balls!!!!" become part of the vernacular!!!!!  I have loved every "Eeeeecccckkk, eeeeecccckkkkk. ", dear John!!!  It has been a rare privilege to be a trusted friend in each of your lives.  Much love always, les

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MelanomaMike's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 9/20/2018 - 8:55pm

Hi ya'all, well, lets see here in the next few days what the Yervoy & Opdivo has done for me, God please let these newer meds be my "key", my combonation of sorts to all this nonsense! Iv never held my breath for a NED report, im happy to see tumors just shrink or not do anything at all!! Keytruda worked on a few Tumors months back but, nowhere near what it should have after 7 bags...
My Scan Tech & i browsed through the footage as best we could, i was kinda worried about my neck like i had expressed earlier, nothing really jumped out at us but, with all due respect, the CT,MRI, PET readers/decipher'rs have software that breaks them down to specific images so, maybe i am holding my breath! Lol...
Ill keep you ya guys..

Im Melanoma and my host is Mike..

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Savymoo23's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 9/18/2018 - 8:25pm

Ugh I'm just stressed out guys. It feels it's a permanent feeling at this point. My husband and I have taken a break from each other, I haven't had a normal "cycle" in awhile from the stress (Thats a period for my male friends haha). I have horrible kidney pain (UTIs turn bad for me haha) and all my kids were in the hospital with pneumonia. GAH! Talk about a big pain in the ass. I'm sorry I'm just ranting but between all these appointment, no sleep, bad health, a shitty marriage and my kiddos....I want to have a mental freak out. I just want to say thank you for being here for me guys. I know we all live all over and don't "know" each other but I've been blessed to know y'all. Good vibes please. Oh and waiting for my CT scans IS SO STRESSFUL!    

Savannah Price

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MelanomaMike's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 9/18/2018 - 11:50am

Hi family, just checkin in, not that iv been gone, im usually throwing my 2 cents in on folks post haha..
But anywho, today is the BIG day, my 1st scan since i started the Yervoy/Opdivo war plan, got thru the Yervoy thank god, and just completed Opdivo #5 a week ago, (#6 Opdivo this Friday, now every 2 weeks) so, comon man!!! I need some good news, Keytruda didnt pan out after #7 bags so, COMON!
This particular scan will include my neck this time, normaly just Chest, Abs & Pelvice, iv had some pains on the right side of my neck for like a week now, i was thinkin its way i sleep??, of course im thinking the worse...
So, scan is set for 5:50pm today, results in a few days...Mike

Im Melanoma and my host is Mike..

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Scooby123's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 9/17/2018 - 9:51pm
Replies by: WithinMySkin

Hi my beautiful people,

has anyone had liver count rise due to having surgery with anestetic. Had surgery in July and had one treatment of keydruda 3 weeks after surgery and liver count up. No treatment till comes down , not on steroids either to help as my count came down week later without steroids. So plan leave another 2 weeks see if normal then resume treatment. 

Any experience with liver count going up much appriciated.



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dsfarms13108's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 9/17/2018 - 8:47pm

has anyone been on keytruda for a while and then developed  colitis because of the keytruda ?  i have been on keytruda for 5 years and just 2 weeks aago  came down with keytruda induced colitis -now they are thinking of kicking me off treatment and watching and waiting and im freaking out because they are saying i probably cant go back to keytruda -and i need to know what else is out there that wouldnt do the same thing -im on steroids and antibiotics right now for the colitis but i know this melanoma runs like wildfire and it scary to think they are just going to watch and wait 

please advise if anyones been in my shoes 


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