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Melanoma/skin cancer

Hey, I was diagnosed with stage 3b melanoma summer 2010... had several surgeries and chose the wait and watch program with a healthy diet. I'm also working on a collection of scars- so far though I only have one big one shaped like a tipped over question mark on my back and three smaller ones (and one other smaller one unrelated) but I'm sure my dermatologist will keep adding more as he takes off anything suspicious :) I never went tanning but my grandpa died of melanoma when I was little so I'm guessing it was genetics.

Feel free to ask questions or share your story with melanoma or skin cancer!
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Comments

  • 37 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • hi, i also had melanoma. mine was in situ was was removed about 2 years ago. i still go for skin check. it was in an area that had never been exposed to sun, but i am the 3rd generation in my family to have skin cancer, so like you, i think mine was genetic.
  • Glad your doctors found yours early! I had a dermatologist look at mine 3 or so years before and they didn't think anything of it- mine wasn't pigmented and it developed in an already existing mole- anyway, by the time it was removed it was 13 mm thick and ulcerated, I'm really lucky that it had spread no further than a lymph node. Still at high risk for recurrence though which is kind of scary.
  • Hi, I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma 14th february 2008. Had 3 weeks of interferon in July/August 2008. The melanoma developed on an already existing mole, was 1.95mm I was very lucky it was only in one lymph node. It is scary when first diagnosed but gets easier as time passes. Ill be 3 years cancer free next month looking forward to that milestone.
    Im like you Mishanne, I believe in healthy diet, I have pretty much flooded my system with juices since my diagnosis, especially carrots! I believe if you keep your immune system strong, then you will have every chance of defeating this thing.
  • At the very least healthy food can't hurt! Whereas from what I've heard interferon is nasty stuff...
  • Yeah it is nasty stuff, but just got to make sure you drink plenty of water. I only had it for 3 weeks and 1 day as my liver count went really high.
  • Yes!!! Interferon is awful! I have/had stage 3 melanoma. Three surgeries and then interferon i/v everyday (5 days a week for 4 weeks).. I am now on my 11th month of the subcontaious injections and I will be done by the end of the month. I went in with a really positive attitude, but now, the interferon has gotten me to achey and tired that I'm just ready to throw in the towel.

    I have a 2 year old and one year old so I have no choice but to push myself through these side-effects. Thank god my treatment is over at the end of this month, but they say it will take quite a while before I really start feeling like myself again.

    The Dr's have told me I have about a 50/50 chance of survival in the next ten years... but I think I'll be fine. :-)
  • Hey Jessica, sounds like you're pretty close to where I am except I elected not to take the intereferon. I'm doing great now, although I did just have an atypical mole removed that the docs said was on the almost melanoma side of the sliding scale for atypical moles... ten more stitches, and I have a feeling there will be more of those! Best of luck finishing out the rest of the nasty interferon :)
  • Melanoma stage I just diagnosed yesterday. I'm 21 yrs old this really sux. Dermatologist said a 1cm incision will take care of this particular one. Guess i'll be on mole patrol from now on, haha.
  • Why yes, melanoma certainly does suck... and is awfully scary!
  • I'm just glad I spotted mine early (it's on the belly). 2 primary care docs and 1 dermatologist all said it looked fine. I insisted to have it taken out for biopsy. Turned out to be a clark level II 0.5mm melanoma. People working/studying in the healthcare field (I'm going to medical school this fall) sometimes become overly anxious about their own health. I guess in this case it is a good thing :)
  • Catching it early makes such a big difference, "if only"s aren't very helpful but it would have been nice if my melanoma had been caught the first time I had it looked at because my family thought it was growing... I'm glad you insisted they take it out!
  • *sigh* I probably did a stupid thing. I read a ton of articles regarding early stage melanoma recurrence. Now I'm completely freaked out and depressed again :( Talking to my dad about it helped a little bit. I hate it when I can't be in control of my own life :'(
  • Yeah, I looked at all the survival statistics for my specific stage and ran the numbers through some estimators- depending on what you believe I have somewhere around a 50/50 chance or worse of making it over 5 years... but hey, who really knows what will happen? Can't live my life with that in mind so I try not to think about it overly much any more- whatever happens happens, as you said we can't control it!
  • Had my excision surgery done this afternoon. Suddenly I'm feeling a lot happier! Maybe the remaining cancer cells are the stuff that made me depressed, haha. The biopsy of another mole on my calf showed negative results. Now praying for the margins to come back clean! :D
  • Had my dermatology and oncology check up today- got two more spots removed just in case... 3 more stitches each, haha, I'm racking up the count slowly but surely! Pathology results in a week, I always wish that part could be instantaneous... my oncologist poked at me and declared me okay unless I start having symptoms for another 6 months :)
  • Had my sutures removed today and pathology report came back normal. No residual melanoma!
  • nicolemeooow;3103 said:
    Had my sutures removed today and pathology report came back normal. No residual melanoma!

    That's great to hear! I'm still waiting to hear about my two spots... gotta hate waiting for those pathology reports... I know they're probably nothing, but it would be nice to be sure.
  • Well two very anxious weeks later finally heard back from the doctor that both spots were severely atypical and I have to have more skin excised around both- yay! So long as it's not yet melanoma and it's being cut off that's good in my book :) If they had some optional surgery where I could get evey spot on my body cut off and checked I'd probably be all for that given everything comes back as severely atypical and something that would probably develop into melanoma with time. I am hard at work on my collection of scars and racking up the stitches count... eventually maybe I'll have all scars and no spots! ;)
  • Good to know that they are not melanomas yet! Sorry to hear that you are getting more scars tho :( Be careful not to stretch them open or anything. They can heal pretty quickly. The 2-inch one on my belly (right in the center below belly button, some ignorant ppl may think i had a c-section, haha!) is healing up nicely and a LOT less noticeable now. I only have 3 moles left on my body, all of which smaller than 3mm in diameter. Maybe it can be less worry for me to just take them all out :P
  • Yeah, I've had my first incision come open and I ended up a staph infection- fortunately not too bad and not the resistant kind. I also broke my stitches once... I'm not good and behaving! Unfortunately I have a LOT of moles, I can't even count, so removing them all isn't really an option and to make it worse bad ones can look good... the reason my melanoma wasn't caught earlier is because it didn't look like anything, and one of the severely atypical moles just removed both my oncologist and dermatologist thought looked perfectly normal but I wanted it off because it reminded me of my melanoma. The scars don't worry me near as much as one of these spots slipping by and becoming another melanoma :(
  • xojessicaxojessica Community Member
    Just wanted to pop by again and touch base.

    Treatment has been over now for a few months! LOVING it! But there are still some side effects. Super tired and not quite ready for work yet, but that could just be mommy-hood. Who knows haha.

    Docs say that my CT scans came back and all the lymphnodes look good right now. I have an appointment with a new dermatologist in October (should be in sooner, but the one I was seeing retired and getting a referral seems to take a MILLION years).

    I have a few spots that are starting to worry me.. but I think that could just be paranoia. I'm sort of scared for the summer, I've already forgotten which sunscreens cause melanoma and which don't, so I will be off to research that one again. I'm not gonna lie though, I miss summer-time tans.. why can't pale look hot?? LOL

    Anyway, hope you are both doing well! Take care of yourselves! xo
  • Good to hear from you Jessica, and even better to hear you're doing well :) I think I'm paranoid too- but can't hurt to get things checked out ever!
  • So, we just found out yesterday that my dad has Basal Cell. I looked at info about it online just a little bit but, guess we'll see what else crops up from this. He had this not quite a mole thing on the back of his neck and they removed it and that's what they discovered. Anyway... cancer just needs to go away from my family now. (Aside from this, and my cancer, my mom a few years ago had endometrial cancer and had a hysterectomy.)
  • I hope everything turns out well for your dad! I think my adviser had basal cell and had it removed many years ago and no problems since :)
  • So I went in at the end of April for my three month skin exam and they removed a spot on my arm and another on my leg, both came back severely atypical so I went in again at the beginning of June and they removed more from my arm and my leg... now I just got the pathology results back from that and my leg is good but they want to remove more from my arm again- third time's the charm? I heal up from one round of stitches only to get another! Luckily no more melanoma has shown up yet so I guess I can't complain too much :)
  • Keep pushing. No melanoma is great.
  • TmartzTmartz Community Member
    Anyone with Melanoma started or talked to Doctors about Yervoy ?? ...i may be getting started with it this week or next.
  • Nope, sorry (well at least I haven't really, talked briefly about an ipi trial but I didn't qualify)... but let us know how it goes!
  • How's everyone doing? It's been a while so I figured i'd stop by and say hi :3
  • Been busy with a new job :) In other news I just had a PET/CT scan and there was some suspicious spot in my lungs... so I get to go in for another scan in a month or so. Other than all the tests came back fine so definitely hoping the spot is nothing bad!