Anyone have any experience with amelanotic melanoma? I had an area on my arm/elbow that resembled actinic keratosis. I'd had it for about a year. I had shown it to one dermatologist who told me I needed my face (where I also have AK) and arms lasered and sent me on my way. Lucky for me I didn't like his bedside manner and went to a new derm who IMMEDIATELY saw that something was wrong. He did a biopsy (shave) and it was melanoma in situ. An excision surgery has shown clean borders and no sentinel node biopsy needed. I know this type of skin cancer is rare, about 5% of cases by my research and survival rate for metastatic amelanotic melanoma is about 5% as it's normally found too late. I will see my derm every 3 months for the next 3 years now and I've scheduled an appointment with my GP to check my lymph nodes. I am so grateful to my new derm for saving my life. As he was doing the excision surgery he told me that if this had gone through to my dermis I would be dead because no one survives this kind of cancer. Yikes. Now I'm so scared that it will come back and wonder is there anything else I should be doing? anyone have a similar experience? I just read about someone that had "melanoma in situ" that showed up years later elsewhere, is that common? Any answers would be appreciated.
PS. He biopsied the AK on my face too to confirm the diagnosis and no melanoma there.
The following user gives a hug of support to lua447: n2hlth (02-25-2012)
Hello... Good to hear, you no longer have cancer...I am a skin cancer survivor too.
I had surgery in June 2011 to remove the cancer on my thigh. I also had 2 lymph nodes
removed to be tested for the spreading of the cancer. I am happy to say that they came back negitive...I must get follow up for next 5 years...and have chest xrays and blood work every 6 months...they told me most cancers return to the chest area. I found the cancerous mole and told my doctor about it...thank goodness I do self checks of my skin.
I'm happy to hear it sounds as if your cancer was caught in time. I had a melanoma in 2007 - just past 5 years a few days ago! - and I was staged at IB. Melanoma in situ is a very good diagnosis - it means there really wasn't any spread/growth at all.
Your aftercare is very typical. I had to see my derm every 3 months for 3 years, and then every 6 months for the next 2 years. Now it will be once a year for the rest of my life.
As far as melanoma returning? Well, the unfortunate news is that there have been many individuals who have had melanoma in situ or melanoma that was staged at IA or IB who discovered it returned 5, 10, or 15 years later after having no evidence of the disease during that time. What determines that? I've no idea, and neither do research scientists. For some reason, in some individuals, melanoma can lie dormant in certain individuals for years, and then suddenly strike. I've known individuals who had melanoma, stage IA, had a wide excision, did all the aftercare, and thought all was fine. Then, 7 - 10 years after their diagnosis, melanomas rears its ugly head, and they are suddenly stage III or stage IV melanoma. Others have melanoma, have it removed, do the aftercare, and are fine the rest of their lives. It's the nature of this beast. It's also one of the reasons why the Red Cross doesn't accept melanoma survivors for blood donations.
What can you do? Do what your doctors tell you do. Do your own monthly skin checks. Use sun screen and practice sun safety. Get to know your body - you are your own best advocate! And most important of all? Live your life!! Don't allow cancer to make a victim of you! Trust me, you can find yourself sitting for hours or days worrying about this crap and thinking, "What if...?" Don't - it will drive you crazy. Take hold of your life and live it every single day in every single way!
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Chele60 For This Useful Post: lua447 (02-27-2012), n2hlth (02-27-2012)