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Malignant Melanoma Questions...need Help!

Last week, my boyfriend was diagnosed with nodular melanoma, a form of malignant melanoma. The tumor has a diameter of 4mm but we do not yet know the thickness. The doctor said he was between a "level ii and level iii" and that he has a 70% cure rate if it was caught in the early stages. My boyfriend had a pet scan 2 days ago but the report has not yet been read. He is extremely anxious and depressed because of the waiting game. Please help me answer the following questions as his doctor seems to be little help.

First, what timeframe can define "early stages"? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?

Second, how long does it typically take to spread to other organs?

Please, any information or positive answers would help us both tremendously and help him at least get some sleep until we have conclusive answers. Thank you
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replied October 14th, 2004
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Melanoma 4 Years Ago!
Hi, just found your concerned questions. I hope by now you and your boyfriend have found some positive answers. 4 years ago, I though i'd found a deer tick on the back of my left upper leg. It turned out to be a malignant melanoma. It was also about 4mm. Went to emory univ. In atlanta for surgery. Also opted for the lymph node check, thats done in case a microscopic cancer cell should have escaped during/after the surgery, it would have traveled first to the closest lymph node, which happened to be on left side of my groin (sweet!). Had 3 lymph nodes removed and those came back "clean". I had a tiny deer tick size tumor, which resulted in a 7 inch scar on the back of my leg. I believe its called the mohs surgery, a punch type ,because this type cancer grows more downward and then spreads outward. Was the size of a silver dollar or larger. I had no body fat so they had to kinda stretch the skin. It looks ok now. I am still alive. I go every year for chest xrays and blood work, also a total body scan with dermotologist every year. I am not sure of the questions you ask, I do know if once you find something suspecious, the faster you go and have it checked, its almost 100% taken care of. I just wanted you both to know, you are never alone, there are lots of us who have had to go thru this and our prayers are with you! Not a really painful surgery either. The scary part is the not knowing and understanding. Please keep me informed????????I just feel in my heart your both gonna be just fine! I'll wave my magic wand and say special prayers for you both! Wink
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replied March 15th, 2009
scared
i got a punch done yesterday on a mole on my back the dr said it looks like melanoma but he dosent know what stage yet he showed me the biospy it was dark on top but the rest of the layers where white is that a good sign and why do you have to wait a week to get your results is that normal please help i am scared
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replied March 15th, 2009
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Hi.............I'm here!
Welcome to eHealth. Sorry Iam just finding your post. First, the waiting is the scarry part. We have to wait because a pathologist has to make slides from (the biopsied piece), then stained and looked under a microscope in order for the physican to tell you what the cells look like. From there, they can kinda take a guess at what stage etc it is. How long was htis mole on oyur back before you discovered it or until doctor saw it? Melanoma grows quicly and grows inward, the punch technique was done to see how far it has spread. Did the Dr. not suggest you do a sentinel node check? This may be another step in the final removing of the section. Ask your doctor about the sentinel node test if he does not request this. This is where they go to the nearest place (lymph nodes) in the even a miroscopic cancer cell would travel, it would have gone ot these nodes. I had this done....all clean than the Lord. Feel free to PM me. Please....I know this is scarry, I've been there.......and I had no one back in 2000 to talk too about it! The good ting is you went and had this done and are getting treatment! Keep me posted! FGM
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replied March 15th, 2009
Community Volunteer
My son has lived with this for over 25 years...He has had probably five of them removed from his body....They were tested here in our State and when in question sent out to a bigger hospital out of the State...I am not sure where, but Colorado rings a bell...When in question they have taken them out...He was told that they will grow at the surface first and the danger comes when they start to grow down...All of these have been caught in the early stages...The first was the worst...It had started to grow down but not yet to his blood stream...It was on his back and after the initial test was done he had to go back in and have a seven stitch cut away done on all the suspicious areas...To make matters worse, he was so fat free that they had a problem stitching him up...His have all been in areas where the Sun hit him in youth...With his build, he never wore a shirt...Hot looking blond jock...Paid the price too....

He is checked every six months by a Dermatologist...Now we find that there is a weakness in my husband's skin...Our other son has had two suspicious areas removed because of his brother...He is again blond....

I hope this will be a warning to any young and blond folks that worship the Sun....Years ago he probably could not have been told this...Now he listens...He is one of the lucky ones....He survived....

With the hell that we have gone through with this disease, even if they find anything, I wouldn't worry...They just cut around the whole area deeper to catch all the feelers......

Take care,
Caroline

One more thing that may help you with your worry, my son's mole was dark to start...A person with moles should always be on the alert.....But his had widened...It had started turning colors...Rainbow looking colors and bubbling affect on top...Ugly..Not like an ordinary mole...Not circular as it should be, but irregular shape....Because of the way that this was caught, he is probably the luckiest man alive....We knew nothing about these, but a knowledgeable person stopped him on the street and pointed this out to him....He had a basketball type sleeveless shirt on....He was with a specialist in two days....So goes life...or in his case, it could have been death....
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replied March 16th, 2009
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I agree
Caroline hit hte nail on the head..YEP, I'm blonde and was a TAN-A-HOLIC in my youth. Had my share of sunburns as well (lifeguarding). In my case, a mole appeared from no where. I infact thought it was a deer tick on the back of my leg. It was the size of a match head, but BLACK in color. I wish I could convince everyone who is fairshinned or better yet anyone who goes OUTSIDE to put on sunblock....We only have the one skin......take care of it!
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replied March 26th, 2009
Getting checked for Melanoma tomorrow
Hi, I am 42 yr old mom who has tanned outside and in tanning beds for 25 yrs plus. There is a mole on my outer thigh that has started changing and the edge of it does look like a deer tick bite too. My question is, can the dermatologist usually tell by looking at it if it is melanoma or not? How long does it typically take for the tests to come back with the results? I am really nervous about this and just want it to be over. This mole is fleshy colored, but the edge like that looks like a tic bite is raised and even turns white and swells when I get out of the bathtub. I really don't have a good feeling about this. It also has a scab like crust on it.
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replied March 27th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Any change in a mole must be checked...This is a deadly disease that must be caught early...Have a Dermatologist check this over...If he/she suspects something, he will biopsy the area...If they send this to a local labratory, it will probably take a week or so...Once it is cut out, you should be OK...The secret is getting it out before it begins to grow down and hit the blood stream...

I definately would have this taken care of..

Caroline
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replied April 25th, 2009
Survivor..early days
Hi just wanted to say to you all how inspirational i have found your comments. I have only 3 weeks ago had surgery to remove the remnants of a Malignant Melanoma on the back of my arm. It was an extrememly frightening and lonely time as we know noone else to have had this type of cancer. However heard from my surgeon yesterday that they have managed to get a clear cell margin which is fab. I am SO relieved but obviously still anxious as this is something now that i shall have to be VERY vigilant about.I'm only 40 and this is quite a prospect. I'm sure i'll see changes in all my moles even when there's none. However i've turned to a positive outlook and have started a personal campaign to bring Sun Awareness and Protection to our local schools(i live in Orkney in Scotland) and the response has been so positive it's almost overwhelming. If we can educate our children from the very beginning then hopefully the next generation will see stats reduce for this largely preventable cancer. The message is very simple. NEVER let your childrens beautiful vulnerable skin burn. It increses their risk of cancer in adulthood by 3 times. Thank you for your positive messages. Every other forum i've been on has been filled with messages from poor souls who have not been as lucky as us!! God Bless.
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replied April 26th, 2009
Community Volunteer
Re: Survivor..early days
Langbraelass wrote:
Hi just wanted to say to you all how inspirational i have found your comments. I have only 3 weeks ago had surgery to remove the remnants of a Malignant Melanoma on the back of my arm. It was an extrememly frightening and lonely time as we know noone else to have had this type of cancer. However heard from my surgeon yesterday that they have managed to get a clear cell margin which is fab. I am SO relieved but obviously still anxious as this is something now that i shall have to be VERY vigilant about.I'm only 40 and this is quite a prospect. I'm sure i'll see changes in all my moles even when there's none. However i've turned to a positive outlook and have started a personal campaign to bring Sun Awareness and Protection to our local schools(i live in Orkney in Scotland) and the response has been so positive it's almost overwhelming. If we can educate our children from the very beginning then hopefully the next generation will see stats reduce for this largely preventable cancer. The message is very simple. NEVER let your childrens beautiful vulnerable skin burn. It increses their risk of cancer in adulthood by 3 times. Thank you for your positive messages. Every other forum i've been on has been filled with messages from poor souls who have not been as lucky as us!! God Bless.


Hi and thank you for the informative post...I am so happy that you are doing well...This is a vicious disease...What you are doing in your helping people is so important...So many do not understand what the rays of the Sun can do to them...

We were again at the Dermatologist, just two days ago...Once again my husband had some skin problems...They took a biopsy from the back of his neck and also one under his eyelid....The doctor told us that behind a man's ears and his face are culprits for skin cancer and melanoma...Also if he wears a baseball hat, the area where the sun shines through on the crown of his head are areas to watch...We will get the results back in 10 days...My husband is the carrier and both of our sons are weak links from this disease...Yet, it can hit anyone......

Take care,
Caroline
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