Patient Comments: Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Diagnosis

What was the stage of your melanoma when it was diagnosed?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Patient Comments

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Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Symptoms Question: What did your melanoma look like when you first noticed it? What was the size of the growth?
Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Risk Factors and Causes Question: What risk factors do you have for melanoma? What are your concerns?
Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including surgery, did you receive for melanoma?
Melanoma (Skin Cancer) - Prevention Question: What steps do you take to prevent melanoma or other skin cancers?

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