Stage IIIB after a misdiagnosis 6 years prior. NP student and pro women's ultimate player who's gonna kick melanoma to the curb.


My name is Elana Schwam and I’m 29 years old. I travel all over the country playing competitive ultimate frisbee with Boston Brute Squad. I am a graduate student in an accelerated direct-entry Nurse Practitioner program pursuing a dual degree in Women’s Health and Adult/Gero Primary Care at MGH Institute of Health Professions. I also have recently been diagnosed with Stage IIIB malignant melanoma at the end of June 2016. I actually had a mole removed in Jan 2010 that was misdaiagnosed as a spitz nevus. In March 2016 I felt a firm pea-sized lump under my right axilla but not in the normal lymph node basin in the axilla. All the doctors except for 1 told me not to worry about it. Had a ultrasound and the radiologist told me it was a cyst. Decided to have it removed anyway as it was growing. Turns out it was an in-transit lymph node metastisis and stained positive for all the melanoma tumor markers with a high proliferation rate. We told my old derm who sent the tissue block from 6 years ago to Dana Farber along with the new biopsy and they told us that my original diagnosis of spitz nevus was incorrect and I'd had melanoma all along.

I had 2 WLE of the area under my right arm and the original site on my back. Currently NED and starting an Interferon vs Keytruda clinical trial at the end of August. Won't know which drug I'll be assigned to until 2-5 days before I start. Hoping for Keytruda.

I started a blog that I've gotten a lot of good feedback on and update weekly. If you are interested in hearing more about my story please check it out!


Mon, 2016-08-08


NED on Keytruda- now what??

Suebette4467 - (5/26/2018 - 12:03am)

I had a mole removed 2/6/2017 and never biopsied. Then about 8-9 months later came back as 4.4 mm cauliflower looking . Went back and they biopsy and it was melanoma. Are you doing anything legally about you misdiagnosed?? Thank you and stay brave.

Susan Bette Hall