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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Anonymous's picture
Replies 2
Last reply 1/19/2011 - 4:42pm
Replies by: W., amandak

Hello All.

I was very recently diagnosed with melanoma arising in a Spitz Nevus. However, my story is a little confusing, and I am hoping to get some answers that my doctor wasn't able to provide.

I got a slightly itchy mole removed from my back. After removing the mole, I came back in two weeks later to get stitches removed. The doctor said they had to send my results out for a second opinion. The doctor that gave the second opinion said that while the first biopsy had come back negative, an area of my mole he felt was melanoma arising from a spitz nevus. The small, nodular dermal  (slightly more than a millimeter in thickness) had melanocytes that had small uniform nuclei and finely granular pigmented cytoplasm. They formed as confluent collections forming a non maturing module.

The doctor finally concluded that based on the nodular dermal component he cannot defend any diagnosis but a tiny focus of melanoma arising in what appeared to be a pre-existing spitz nevus.

Since this was from a referring pathologist and not my actual doctor, my actual doctor didnt seem to have many answers for me. They scheduled me in for an excision but said it would take 2-3 weeks to get in. He also said they would check the lymph nodes when I went in. I will go nuts waiting 2-3 weeks to get more answers. Im just wondering a few things:

Since they don't definitevely say that I have melanoma, is there a chance this is benign and they are just being cautious? (if so I would rather be safe than sorry)

If I get it excised and it hasn't spread to the lymph nodes, will that take care of it?

Is there a large history of these changing into metastes (sp?) moles over time even if it is excised?

If it has spread, what is the treatment and or prognosis?

Does 2-3 weeks seem like a long time to wait to get in and get this taken care of?

Any help anyone could give me in terms of answers or just clarification, would be extremely helpful. Thank you all for your time. 

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scots's picture
Replies 13
Last reply 11/7/2010 - 9:12am

I was  diagnosed with melanoma after a cycst was removed from the back of my head in September.

Pet/CT -clear, WLE - clear margins, SNB - neg,  melanoma 3.7

My oncologist has suggested interferon(1 month high dose, 11 month low dose) and radiation.  I have an appt. with the radiation oncologist on Thursday to discuss treatment.  I'm suppose to start interferon next Monday.  This has all happened so fast, so many questions.  Has anyone had any experience with goning through both treatments at the same time? or what order you went through both treatments.  After reading about interferon on the bulletin board I'm wondering if I can do both.




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Drew N's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 11/1/2010 - 10:47pm
Replies by: jag, Drew N, Anonymous, BethA in VA, Jim in Denver, lhaley

I was diagnosed Stage IV in November 2008 (lymph node right groin), after a malignant mole was removed (May 2006). Everything's been cool since then, but they were watching some spots on my liver... they never changed, but still. MRI a week ago ID'd them as nothing, blood work is good, and Xrays are good.

I told the nurse at MDA that the longer I hold out, the better I feel about a discovery that will give me a chance if there's recurrence. And in the meantime I keep knocking back the curcumin. She agreed (with all of that) and told me there's more and more on the horizon.

Keep the faith, y'all.



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Jim M.'s picture
Replies 14
Last reply 11/6/2010 - 10:10pm

Hi everyone,

 My recent scan two weeks ago came back negative!! Three years ago on 11/1 I had an LND to the right axillary and I've been NED since. I give thanks and praise to God. Miracles are happening every day. I thank so many of you for your guidance, knowledge and support. You are the wind beneath my wings. I thank my wonderful medical team, for their caring, expertise and passion to help others. I don't know where I'd be without my dear wife who loves me through the good times and the rough times. Our 2 children are such a special blessing and they keep me going. My prayers go out to all warriors, caregivers and loved ones.

 God Bless to all,

 Jim M.

Stage 3C

LND (unknown primary)

radiation 6 weeks

Ipilimumab and peptide vaccines: 3/08-10/08

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llmercll's picture
Replies 16
Last reply 5/14/2014 - 4:31pm

I've had a fairly large mole on my back for as long as I could remember, I've never really given it a good look until recently however. Over the past year I've spent a great deal of time in bed on the computer, lying on my back, and one day I noticed my mole was "stinging". I checked it out in the mirror and noticed there was a black spot on the mole, taking up maybe 20% of it. I figured I'd watch it and see how it does before going to a doctor. 

It's been 3 months and I don't think it's grown much, if any, at least not in width. It has a very "mole" like feel to it, and I can move it around a lot with my finger, I don't find it particularly odd except for that black spot. It doesn't sting anymore. If it grew at all over the past 3 months it might have gotten a bit "puffier". Unfortunately melanoma is often multicolored, and thats exactly what the problem is. And nodular melanoma grows in depth, not width, so that scares me too =( 

I tried making a dermatologist appointment but my medicaid requires me to get a referral, and I don't have a primary care doctor. I probably won't get to a dermatologist for another week or two because of this. I know it's critical to get early treatment of melanoma, so this is upsetting me greatly. I'm getting really anxious thinking about cancer, and would like someone to just take a look at at a picture of the mole and let me know what they think. 

Also if anyone knows a way for me to get a referral I'd really appreciate that too. 

thanks so much to whoever helps out, I'm hoping for someone knowledgeable to come along and ease my nerves, haha

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Andrew Langsford's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 11/1/2010 - 11:25am

I have had DCIT recommended to me by an oncologist. He said that after 2 doses he can tell whether it is taking effect or not.  Has anyone had this advice, or a good experience with DCIT?  The ipi would be the next thing, but it has come with a warning of drastic side effects to the bowels, anyone experience this?

Thanks for any help and experience.



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BarbieGirl's picture
Replies 12
Last reply 11/14/2010 - 9:43am

Glenda.  A dear friend.  A fun person.  A true warrior.  One helluva classy lady.   I've missed her every single day, since she left us 4 years ago.  She's been joined by so many others in the last 4 years, I can't even count them all.  I know she's keeping them amused and up-to-date on the goings-on in Heaven! 

I love you my sweet, sweet Glenda.  I know I'll see you again someday....



The first 4 pictures are how I want to remember Glenda.  Please STOP there, unless you want to see the harsh and ugly reality of melasuckanoma.  I took and posted the last pictures at her request..   I didn't identify her in the pictures, but SHE did.   She helped sooo many people here for many years, and even when she was dying, she wanted to help those who were always asking what Sub-Q's were.  Sub-Q's come in all forms, shapes, sizes, and colors.  Glenda's were the worst I've ever seen, and it makes me cry to even post them now.  But I know Glenda wanted people to see and understand how this horrible beast can kill in the form of Sub-Q's.  When I last spoke with Glenda, she told me her organs were clear---it was the Sub-Q's that were killing her---choking off her organs.  Very brave; God bless her soul for sharing with us.  Again, WARNING---these pictures are NOT for the feint of heart.


Glenda and "Grumpy" (Dave)...her hubby who joined the angels not too long before Glenda, at the Biltmore in Asheville:


Glenda grabbing DT's bootay at the Asheville MPIP Bash:


The 'smoking area' at the Michigan MPIP Bash---Glenda, my MamaG, Tim (King's hubby), me and Cigar Bob (Dian in Spokane's hubby):


Lady in Red----the last time I saw Glenda, just a couple of months before she passed.  She went to the restroom and came out looking like this..haha!  Still made people laugh even when she knew she didn't have long:













Sub-Q's on her arms: (NO, that is not her breast.)


And on her shoulder, neck, ears.....



These were HUGE on her stomach... football-sized and just hundreds all together:


Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in an attractive & well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body totally used up & worn out, & screaming WOOHOOO, WHAT A RIDE!!

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mrsmarilyn's picture
Replies 5
Last reply 11/2/2010 - 11:07pm


My brother Gary- who has been on GSK - BRAF 2118436 inhibitor at Sara Cannon - was asked by GSK to speak at their  Philiadelphia HQ - on Friday.  It was a worldwide teleconference - speaking regarding his 60% reduction in 9 months.  They gave him a tour- top secret - and all the researchers were so happy to meet a real live person with such success.

Lots of good things - happening at GSK - he is so happy!

Best of luck to all.


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naty's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 11/3/2010 - 6:38pm

We are in West Michigan we I am looking for a recommended physician or treatment center in the region.  It is for my father who states he is wanting to travel if that is what it takes.  He wants to fight the best possible fight.  He had an oncologist at Spectrum Health and we did go to U-M and they offered only radiation to the head for 2 weeks and then temedor.   Where's a good place to start trials?  Karmanos in Detroit?  We are open to suggestions as my dad has just started his fight with stage IV.  Please share your thoughts.  Thank you!

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ipi in DC's picture
Replies 11
Last reply 11/1/2010 - 6:10pm

Hey Everybody,

Just got back into town from my scheduled scans during Ipi/ temador trial. As Jim I was enrolled in the trial in August, we are on the same weeks. The scans showed an  aprox. 25% decrease in all lung nodules and the nodule on lower back has decreased by atleast  half.

I also feel so lucky to be responding to the treatment, but yet guilty because so many others are still working so hard to find something that works for them or the same trial and not responding. It makes me very humble to be so lucky, (why do I get to respond and not everyone else).

I agree with Jim that we are not out of the woods yet, but it was so nice to have the staff come in smiling with good news. There is still a long way to go and a possibility of more side effects that can be very nasty. I do have a major rash that started the first infusion but has increased each infusion. The rash went nuts the 4th infusion and a constant itch over my intire body that just seems to walk from one spot to the next. It really seems to go nuts in the middle of the night. Unfortunately Benadryl doesnt work for me and never has. The Hydroxyzine seems to take the edge off, and I have found that Green labeled Gold Bond lotion and powder seems to be the best for me. The lotion makes you feel like your freezing cold until it dries.


Fully rely on GOD & try not to ruin today by worrying about tomorrow

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emilypen's picture
Replies 10
Last reply 11/2/2010 - 8:49am

Hi All,

My husband is Stage IV, but is on a trial that seems to be working... his next CT scan is this coming week. I can tell it's helping, his pain is less, and his energy is up.

But he's on a new drug combo that really has no statistics yet... it's a shot in the semi-dark, so it's hard for both of us to look forward since we don't know how long it will work or even if he is a partial or full responder.

So my question to all of you is, how do you keep your spirits up? how do you keep looking to the future and planning a future with your loved ones?

How do you stay positive, and agressive? Even if a treatment doesn't work?

We're both positive people but the last few months have been incredibly tough and even now I'm fighting tears as I write this.

Any advice would help. Especially since on Friday we'll know if this drug combo is working or not.


thank you,


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Jerry from Cape Cod's picture
Replies 9
Last reply 10/31/2010 - 11:25am

Hello All,

I just recieved a call from Buddy's wife Nancy.  After a month in John's Hopkins Buddy has entered hospice where he is resting comfortably.  Please send your thoughts and prayers to Buddy, Nancy and their family. 

Nancy posted here and at the old site frequently, recently the care of Buddy and the family orchards have required all of her time and energy. 

I'll forward all posts to Nancy.  Also, if you'd like to send an email to Nancy please send it to me at and I'll forward it off to her.


Jerry from Cape Cod

It's about kickin' Melanoma's butt! "Meh. Get on with it. Do not feed rabid monkeys. To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another." in memory of NicOz

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Justme's picture
Replies 7
Last reply 11/13/2010 - 10:26pm


Background information, brother dx with melanoma from area on finger that was left untreated and undiagnosed for 9 months.  Had PET scan in June which lit up lymph nodes under same arm as finger and.  Finger was amputated, lymph nodes removed, one of 22 found positive, size 4.5 cm.  Very few of the nodes had normal color.

 CT scan  May 2010 showed few pulmonary nodules two in right lung one being 6mm and the other 5mm. maybe one in left lung.  Third nodule in pelvic area 6mm soft tissue.              


PET Scan lit up nodes in axillary area and the finger area. No nodes lit up in lungs in pet scan but saw nodules....may 2010

In July 2010 nothing lit up on Pet scan or any nodules seen. 

September of 2010 Began treatment of intefuron instead of interluekin as lungs were negative.  Is now on the self injections.

Last week had another CT scan which showed significant growth of lung nodules and increase in amounts.  One physician has told them that the PET Scan is more accurate, the physician they spoke with said today that the CT scan is more accurate than the PET when it comes to the lungs. 

Ideas, suggestions, questions,  Help Please?

Just me

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annballard's picture
Replies 1
Last reply 10/29/2010 - 10:51pm
Replies by: lhaley

Hi Everyone, 

I've been reading over the amazing posts. What support! I had a stage 3a diagnosis last spring, with removal of the tumor on my calf and two sentinel nodes which showed a couple of micrometasteses. I declined a full lymph node dissection on my leg and the interferon. 

Does anyone else have a similar diagnosis? I have semi annual liver panels and annual chest x-rays and so far so good. 



Everything is for the Good.

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EricNJill's picture
Replies 6
Last reply 10/30/2010 - 3:58pm

Eric says that he is having problems with perifial vision.  I've noticed lately that he has been running into furniture and corners of the walls.  Yesterday when he came  home from work he had a gash and bump on his forehead.  He is a service manager at a goodyear and he said that a car was up on a lift and he ran into it.

They already had him scheduled for a Pituitary MRI because he's been so sick with vomitting and they can't figure out why.  They said it should also show up if there are any mets in the brain.  I was just wondering if this was a sign and if there were any other signs I should be looking for.

Thanks, Jill N Eric in OH

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