Patient Comments: Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Diagnosis

Question:

What was the stage of your melanoma when it was diagnosed? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Nikki R. , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 13

Well, I've experienced toxic shock syndrome twice. It came on out of nowhere, had sudden urges of feeling like I needed to stretch my muscles really bad, uncontrollably bad. I had a sudden fever with the chills, you feel very cold due to low blood pressure. I had severe pain in my muscles and I felt like I kept clenching my whole body. Dehydration and headache set in. It's a horrible feeling of nausea, headache, uncontrollable shivering and clenching of your muscles, and rapid heartbeat. It's a horrible feeling.

Comment from: Joanne, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 06

I was stage 2b when melanoma was first diagnosed.

Comment from: Patti, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 14

I had my last period at 55. I was more stressed with the perimenopause. I never really had symptoms that were horrible. I don't sleep but now that I am 58 I am getting the symptoms, dry vagina, palpitations, hot flashes, and dropped bladder. I thought I was free and now my symptoms start.

Comment from: pfox333, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: February 23

I have known for about 10 years when I was weak and no appetite, that I have thrombocytopenia. After testing they found that platelets were in a range of 55 to 85 (below 100). In the last 6 months symptoms got worse and now causing joint pain in my lower back. They have told me that it is incurable but when I bleed and cannot stop I am to seek help and maybe transfusion. I am also diabetic.

Comment from: Frank, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 22

Around 1999 I developed nose bleeds. I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist and he said I had a deviated septum from a nose break and needed an operation. Until then, I should keep my nose packed with Vaseline petroleum jelly. I did this but of course it would run, I'd blow my nose and it would occur again (while working a full time job). After 15 years I decided to try Vaseline to just dissolve the blood clots (with Q-tips) but not to pack my nose with it. The Vaseline had the added benefit of stopping another nose bleed (unlike blowing you nose to clear it). After a few months, I no longer had nose bleeds. It has now been a few years without nose bleeds (and no further Vaseline use). This is anecdotal and there may be now cause and effect between how I used Vaseline and my nose bleeds stopping. But it certainly seems to be the most likely cure of a 15 year nose bleed.

Comment from: Grieving, 25-34 Female Published: June 06

After being treated with radiation and chemotherapy, my hubby could not have his last two chemotherapy treatments as his platelets were low! Three months later he had to have an emergency blood transfusion as his hemoglobin was 5 and platelet count was 30! He didn't make it. He was always tired. And lost his appetite. Now he is gone.

Comment from: Susan D., 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 13

Suffering from bowel disease, I have had a camera from both directions. When the camera went down, they asked if I was aware I had a hiatal hernia. I said that I wasn't, but as that wasn't what they were looking for, and nothing was mentioned again. I didn't know what the symptoms were! I feel like I have swallowed a Gobstopper, I feel like it's stuck and this then sends pain into my throat, shoulders, chest. I have on occasions took myself off to hospital, thinking I was having a heart attack. I do take lansoprazole 30 mg, this was for acid and feeling sick. I wonder the pain I'm having is from the hernia. I really don't want to start again with hospitals and doctors but it is getting worse! This morning I was trying to be healthy and had some raspberries with muesli. My lips have swollen and I am now walking about with excruciating pain. I know it will pass hopefully soon. I've taken an antihistamine and 2 lansoprazole, 2 Co-codamol and I'm just waiting for the pain to pass!

Comment from: Debbie, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 03

At age 33 I had a small bleeding mole removed from under my left breast. It was melanoma, I had a wide excision and all margins came back clear. No other treatment. Twenty two years later, I now have stage 4 metastatic malignant melanoma. You are never cured of this disease. Don't let your guard down.

Comment from: Skywilson, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 09

Four years ago I had a mole that scabbed and fell off. It was diagnosed as melanoma and had spread to one lymph node. Stage 3B. After many surgeries and a mega dose of interferon it recurred in the same spot while still taking immunotherapy. For the last four years I have been diligent on my follow up appointments and my scan schedule. My last Brain MRI was one year ago. In the course of two weeks while on vacation, I started having more intense headaches, some vision blurriness and a little confusion on my surroundings. I attributed this to jet lag and fatigue. When I returned home the symptoms didn't get any better. I went to the emergency room (ER) thinking I was having a stroke. An MRI showed a metastatic melanoma lesion the size of two golf balls in my right temporal lobe. Four weeks ago surgeons removed the entire lesion but some of my brain went with it. I have kicked melanoma three times and I will continue to fight until I can't. I am hoping that's the end of it. It's a horrible disease and does what it wants. It does not follow the natural progression of disease state like other cancers. It's unpredictable and sneaky. For those of us who keep fighting, congrats on your hard work, for those of us grieving someone they lost to melanoma, my heart goes out to you.

IMAGES

Melanoma See a pictures of malignant melamona as well as other noncancerous, precancerous and cancerous tumors See Images
Comment from: melissa, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 16

I noticed a black head like spot on my nose. I popped it (as you would) and it bled. Then days after it got bigger and started to bleed occasionally, I bathed it with certain ointments and crèmes thinking this would help my blackhead go away. It gradually ulcerated and became increasingly larger, with a scab forming that would drop off, and then return. Days and months passed, and it was still there. I decided to go to my general physician (GP), who referred me to a skin specialist. My specialist diagnosed me with skin melanoma. Having surgery to remove it for me was quite painful and scary emotionally, and I ended up with stitches that then became infected. More surgery is required as cancer is still in the margins after being tested, so back to surgery I go on the 23rd of this month, fingers crossed this time they get it all. So for me this has been an eye opener, I'm 42 with 3 children, many years of sun exposure has done this to me. Please be aware of the danger of the sun is all I can say, and if you have any abnormal spots get them checked quickly.

Published: July 08

In six weeks, I noticed a mole below my left rib cage increase in size, then grow outward, and eventually bleed. By the time I got a referral to a dermatologist to remove it, it was third-stage melanoma. After surgery (6 inch incision) of the mole area and two lymph node removals, I may have a 50% chance to survive five more years. Never take a chance, get checked out!

Comment from: Annabell, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I have stabbing pains in the eye during the day. It feels like a small grain of something and it is usually in the upper part of my eyeball.

Comment from: Isabella57, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 14

I am obsessive and compulsive about skin tags and age spots. I have annual skins checks and requested what I thought was an age spot be removed last year. Doctor didn't seem very concerned at all but did have it removed. It turned out it was stage 4 melanoma. Now I feel like I'm in a death trap. How do you live your life and stay covered! Very sad.

Comment from: kj, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 31

I had a mole that came up in 2002 on my right thigh. Went to dermatologist and he said it was fine. In 2010 it started changing shape and color, and eventually bled. I was diagnosed on 1-11-11 with stage2T2B tumor, It was removed 1-19-2011, with 1 lymph node, which was negative. I have a good chance of recurrence and am getting regular checkups and petscan in August. Recently found a new bump under my skin in my abdomen, I'll be watching that for growth. It is so important not to wait. I was caretaking my mom who had ovarian cancer, after my sister was killed skydiving, I honestly thought that mole couldn't be cancer after all I'd been thru-guess what, I was so wrong, please don't do what I did and think it won't happen to you.

Comment from: Kitty B, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 14

I noticed a small black dot on the back of my thigh. My dermatologist told me she was 99% sure it was nothing as it was tiny, but very dark and brand new. I was so unsettled that it was biopsied and I got a call a few weeks later confirming my suspicions that it was melanoma. Thank fully it was caught early (in situ). Lesson: Be your own health advocate. Anything new--have a biopsy. Err on the side of caution.

Comment from: carchick, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 07

I was just diagnosed with malignant melanoma 2 weeks ago. I had a mole no more than 5mm in diameter that began bleeding on my right upper arm. My primary care doctor assured me that the biopsy would reveal nothing serious, but she was wrong. They also didn't remove all the cancer with the original biopsy. The surgical oncologist will be removing a 2cm diameter by 2cm deep section from my arm which hopefully comes back with clean margins. I was shocked, I am only 26 years old with no family history and no history of severe sunburns, nor was I a sun worshipper like many of my friends.

Comment from: Clare, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

A month ago I went to my GP asking for a mole which I have had from birth to be removed as it was slightly darker than it had been and I was covering it with make up to disguise it. Not for one moment did I think it was sinister, but my GP referred me for a second opinion and I was seen by a dermatologist within 10 days, was immediately scanned and the mole was removed there and then. Unfortunately a week later he confirmed that it was a first stage melanoma of 0.8mm and I would need further surgery to remove more skin around the excision sight to ensure there were no further cells. I have seen a plastic surgeon who is to do this procedure next week. I would urge anyone who notices any changes whatsoever to seek advice immediately. I have been very lucky so far and hope that my luck continues through the next stages of my treatment.

Comment from: Pamela, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

My melanoma, which began as a flat bleeding mole on my leg, was diagnosed by tissue biopsy. I had surgery to remove the affected tissue, which the surgeon believed had not reached my muscle tissue, with skin graft repair. I was diagnosed with recurrent melanoma after discovering a lump in my groin area which turned out to be a cancerous lymph node. At that time, although I had no follow-up treatment after the first melanoma surgery, I was put on a course of Interferon for one year. I am now one a half years post-treatment having three months blood work with my oncologist and so far, I have had no reoccurrence.

SLIDESHOW

Skin Cancer Symptoms, Types, Images See Slideshow
Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

For the past few years I've had check-ups by the Dermatologist. Last year I showed her a light brown mole on my neck. She said it wasn't anything to worry about. This year when I went for by check I told her the mole was growing. She said I don't think it's anything, but since you say it's growing, I'll biopsy it. It turned out to be a melanoma. It was in the early stages but I had to have a skin graft on my neck and the plastic surgeon said the pathology report shows they got all of it. That was a little over a week ago. The place on my neck looks horrible, but I am sure glad it's gone. I have an appointment with the Dermatologist in December. I already about 3 places I'm anxious for her to see.

Comment from: Ga.Peach, 45-54 (Patient) Published: August 18

I am 45 and 2 years ago I had a lymph node in the left groin area swell. I had a mole removed 3 years prior above my left knee. This was Melanoma and a surgery now an eight inch scar remains and I was told all margins were clear. Now the lymph node was needle biopsied and it came back Squamous Cell. My doctors then wanted tissue, so a removal of the lymph node was done and it came back malignant melanoma. They went in and removed the remaining nodes even after PET scan showed no signs of it spreading, but it had spread to two more of the nodes. I then had to go through 49 weeks or 155 Chemo treatments. I am a year over the treatments but I still have a lot of the symptoms. Watching and waiting and hoping it will not return. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my Life!

Published: August 01

After watching a black spot appear on my left forearm and get larger, itch and change in color, I finally made an appointment with a dermatologist after two years. He took one look at it and said he was sure it was melanoma. He removed the nodule for biopsy and it came back a nodular melanoma, Clark's Level IV and Breslow Level II. They did a wide excision of the area on my arm and also removed two sentinel lymph nodes. It all came back okay. with no spread indicated at this time. I will have a follow up appointment just for a skin check with the local dermatologist at three months after surgery and at six months a PET scan. Hopefully the cancer will not have spread anywhere else. It was 3.4 mm thick so was considered an immediate thickness melanoma. I will be having check-ups every three months for 2 years, every 6 months for the next 3 years and once a year after that.

Published: July 28

When I was 27 when a small mole on my face started getting darker. It looked black. So, I went to the doctor who told me he was sure it was not cancerous, but just to be safe referred me to a specialist. He took one look at it and removed it there and then arranged for me to come back in two weeks for my results. When I went back two weeks later he confirmed it was a malignant melanoma and checked my body for further moles. Another mole on my back was removed for examination and they arranged for a plastic surgeon to take a larger piece of skin from my face and replace it with a piece of skin from behind my ear. My other mole was fine. I've had 6 moles removed in the last 4 years and 3 of them were pre-cancerous. I was very lucky that they caught my mole early and would recommend anyone who does not like the look of their moles to contact their doctor straight away. It does not matter if they find nothing wrong with your mole, its better to live than think why I didn't go earlier.

Comment from: 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 23

My results after having a wide excision of malignant melanoma were, T01000 and M87200.

Comment from: dee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 12

On May 12 gynecologist found a black mole on inner thigh and told me to get to dermatologist quick. I couldn't get in for 9 days but finally went and he said it was nothing but would take a slice and send it off to be sure. Two weeks after the original doctor found the mole I was given the horrible news that it was a melanoma in situ. Five days later I was in surgery. They did not do Mohs which I thought they would, but instead took enough to make a clear margin. Again a wait of 2 days but they say it is clear and no cancer found now.

Comment from: greg, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 01

The thickness of the melanoma is 1.80mm. I am being sent for further test on May 8th. Could not get in before. Will keep all informed.

Comment from: Cliff H., 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: July 31

2010. I noticed what I thought was hard skin under my big toe, obviously, you are really unable to see all, anyway, I paid a visit to my doctor, he suggested I should see a skin specialist at my local hospital, this I did, within 3 hrs I was in the medical room, where I had a Melanoma 2.9cm removed, within two weeks I was operated on and had my big toe and one next to it amputated. That was 3 yrs ago, although my operation, was a success, my other toe will not heal and I am in constant pain.

QUESTION

Self-examination is important in the detection of skin cancer. See Answer
Comment from: survivor, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma a few months back, had several surgeries and looking to get another breast exam. I'm in a "risk" of getting more cancer, I love the sun. I pray they find a cure, for cancer soon. Stay positive! ;)

Comment from: 13-18 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 24

I am currently sitting in a hotel while 17-year-old son is having side effects from interferon. He was diagnosed a couple months ago with stage 3 melanoma. If nothing else, I would like to preach to please use sunscreen and avoid tanning beds. We are sun lovers (My son is a lifeguard), and we paid little attention to sunscreen. This can happen. My son is young and this treatment is horrible but we will be OK. He will be OK.

Comment from: Hazman, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 14

I am 57 years old and have spent a lot of my life in the sun. I've always had moles here and there. A couple of months ago I went to my GP to burn off a few "pre-cancer" crusties here and there. He froze some other moles and then circled one with a pen and told me to keep an eye on this one and if it starts growing he'll biopsy it. It was small, about the size of a sharpened crayon and dark brown. Not weird shape or anything, just a darker mole. Well it didn't really grow so I told him I wanted it removed. Got a call a couple of days ago, malignant Melanoma. I have another visit to the doctor tomorrow to find out the next steps. I'm a little bit frightened, but we'll see what happens.

Comment from: Liz, 35-44 Female Published: April 23

I am 44 years old. I have been seeing a dermatologist for more than 20 years for acne and moles. I think I was 22 when I had my first set of moles removed. I have had about 25 removed over the years, and this year, after taking two more, one came back malignant melanoma. I returned for a cut of a bigger area around to make sure they have it all. The doctor is very, very positive that she did. We shall wait and see. I will be back to have four or five more removed; they are changing all the time. My advice is to make sure your doctor takes every precaution; it's not worth the risk.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

I never had any visible melanomas of my skin, but one was found in my lung when I hurt my back and had a CT scan. It was surgically removed, and I had chemo. It has now been three years without any problems.

Comment from: Amanda, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I am a 30-year-old mother of three. Last summer, I had a mole checked that grew from a small mole that was pink on my stomach to a large blackish-brown mole that bled and oozed in little over a year. I had it taken off at my family doctor's office. It came back positive for melanoma. I went through a surgery to remove a large section of my stomach and then a second one because a lymph node biopsy detected it spread up to my armpit. I had all of my lymph nodes taken out of my armpit. I did one aggressive month of chemo (interferon) and am doing 11 more months of treatment. So far, so good.

Comment from: jackie PT, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

About 10 years ago, a mole on the back of my thigh was biopsied and came back negative. The mole was not removed, and two years later, it began to grow and bleed. It then was biopsied and found to be melanoma. I endured a year of interferon and had no problems for eight years. This July, I found a lump in the same area. A PET scan showed that was the only hot spot. I had the node removed, and it was negative. I then began a clinical trial with a vaccine made from my tumor. Here I am six months later with two new lumps. One has been biopsied and is melanoma. I have had any and all moles removed completely.

Comment from: Tom, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 11

My melanoma was established in 1986 (I was 44) as a mole in the upper, backside of my right arm. The mole turned cancerous over the winter months, and because I was wearing long sleeve shirts and the mole was on the upper back of my arm, the cancerous growth was not noticed until I started to wear short sleeve shirts in the spring. I had this mole all my life. It was the size of the top of a pencil eraser and looked like a black beauty spot. It was very smooth to the touch and felt like velvet; I used to enjoy touching it as a kid. But in 1985/1986, it turned lumpy like a piece of coal.

Comment from: TJF, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 08

My brother was diagnosed in July 2006 with malignant melanoma. He had a very black, bleeding mole on his upper back that he put off having checked. After he received the diagnosis, he started a full year of Interferon treatment, which made him very ill. After completing treatment, he was rescanned from head to toe only to reveal widespread metastases. The cancer had spread to his lungs, liver, spleen, and bones. He was then put in the hospital and given two treatments, four weeks apart, of Interleukin 2, which is a type of immunotherapy that makes you so ill they have to monitor you in the hospital. After rescanning again, the cancer had spread even more. My brother died in April 2007, less than two years after the diagnosis. He was 48 years old. It is so important to take malignant melanoma seriously. It is a very deadly cancer if it is not detected early.

Comment from: Kathy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 26

I am a 58-year-old white female who grew up in Florida when baby oil was the preferred suntan lotion. I showed my doctor a growth on my right arm (between elbow and shoulder). He pooh-poohed it but said to let him know if it grew. A year later I went back and he told me he would biopsy it if it would make me feel better. A couple of days later the nurse (not the pooh-pooh doctor) called to tell me it was malignant melanoma. I had it removed the next day by a dermatologist. Because it had been on my arm for at least a year, I was terrified. The dermatologist sent me to an oncology surgeon. The surgeon reviewed the slides and the reports. His second opinion was that the dermatologist correctly excised the tumor which had almost gotten to the point that it was penetrating to the danger zone. He was positive about my prognosis and cautioned me that interferon treatment might cause me more problems than good. He suggested a course of careful and frequent follow-up exams.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

My melanoma was found due to a mole that became raised and black in color. The mole appeared to be a wart, cracking, seeping and sore. It was a bit larger than a pencil eraser in diameter, however about the raised size of such. I sought out a dermatologist who shaved the growth thinking it was definitely not cancer, however it did get sent out to be checked and was found to be melanoma.

Comment from: Andy, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 26

I had a mole on the top of my shoulder that bled. I went to my doctor who said it was nothing. I decided to get it checked out by a dermatologist. It was diagnosed as melanoma. If in doubt, insist on seeing a specialist.

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 14

My best friend was diagnosed with melanoma of the thumb. Her thumb was removed, and the doctor told her she would not need any follow-up treatment because it was all contained; he got it all. Two years later, she was full of melanoma. She had more than 50 lesions in the liver, 100 lesions in her lungs, her sternum, and spinal column. She fought it for six months, and we lost her on her 40th birthday. She left her 4-year-old and 10-year-old boys at home. I miss her every day.

Published: April 07

Almost 4 weeks ago I had a mole removed in my local doctor's office a week later it came back melanoma cancer. Last week I had my surgery. A 5 inch cut just above my belly button left side. They also took two lymph nodes from my left arm pit. Now I have a two week wait, this is the hardest part. I'm scared. Two days before I found out it was cancer I lost a close friend to this same thing.

Comment from: rocku, 45-54 (Patient) Published: March 05

My melanoma was found in a mole that grew larger on my face. They told me it is stage II. I never expected to hear what I heard on Thursday, and I am just shocked about what melanoma really is.

Comment from: mom2b, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I was diagnosed when I was 24. I just went in to get checked because my mother had skin cancer when she was 26 so I thought I should get checked out just to be safe. I had some spots removed and then that was all. My Dermatologist did not tell me I had to come back or anything. Now I am 25 and seven months pregnant and the cancer is back and growing rapidly due the HGH I am producing. Now I wish I would have gotten a second opinion sooner. I didn't know you had to do follow up visits. No one ever told me.

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