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Old 05-13-2003, 06:33 AM   #1
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Question melanoma how serious is it?

I got a phone call from my older brother (he is 33, I am 21) last week and he told me he was having a mole removed from his stomach. Then tonight he called and said the Oncologist did a biopsy and it was found to be malignant. He also went on to say that he was having surgery tomorrow morning and they were going to do some other tests to see if it was in his blood.

Then he told me that I needed to go to the doctor and get a referral to an Oncologist too because our Mum, Grandmother and a cousin have all died of cancer. Mum and Grandmother breast cancer and cousin leukemia.

What I need to know is with a melanoma how serious can they be, could he die? and what is the treatment?

Thanks Charlotte
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Old 05-13-2003, 12:47 PM   #2
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Hi Charlotte-
A malignant mole doesn't always mean melanoma. It could be other types of skin malignancy. Did the doctors definatively use the word melanoma?

Melanoma, while serious, can be totally curable depending on at what "Stage" it's been diagnosed.... This is usually determined not by how big it looks to the naked eye but how deeply it have invaded into the skin and underlying tissues. Treatment options are then determined by what Stage the melanoma is in. (i.e. "Staging"). Excision would be obviously the first thing they would do, hopefully leaving no cancerous margins.
The Medline link will tell you more about what comes next.

It is not tantamount to a death sentence by any means, so please don't panic!
Here's a link to Medline's website re: melanoma, which is allowed by HealthBoards to be posted: [url="http://search.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/query?MAX=500&SERVER1=server1&SERVER2=se rver2&PARAMETER=Melanoma&DISAMBIGUATION= true&FUNCTION=search&x=13&y=13"]http://search.nlm.nih.gov/ medlineplus/query?MAX=500&SERVER1=server1&SERVER2=se rver2&PARAMETER=Melanoma&DISAMBIGUATION= true&FUNCTION=search&x=13&y=13[/url]
On the same website, just in case you miss it is another really good link: [url="http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/melanoma#13"]http://www.cancer.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/melanoma#13[/url]

Good luck. No panic allowed! Need to take this one step at a time, arm yourself with as much information as you can, be proactive, ask questions of the oncologist. Treatment (and SUCCESSFUL treatment) is definitely available.....
Keep us posted...
Any questions that you aren't getting answered clearly from the docs, come back here and we'll all try to help.

Love,
zuzu xxxx


[This message has been edited by zuzu8 (edited 05-13-2003).]

[This message has been edited by zuzu8 (edited 05-13-2003).]

 
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Old 05-21-2003, 12:24 PM   #3
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Hi Charlotte
Zuzu has given you very good advice. Please try not to worry too much. I had a malignant melanoma removed 5 years ago & there's absolutely no signs of it having spread anywhere.
Best wishes.
Lidia

 
Old 05-21-2003, 10:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies.

My brother had his surgery and it turns out the cancers has spread to the surrounding area and has been diagnosed as stage high level II or low level 3. The doctors want to do more tests, a bone scan etc. before they decided the best cause of treatment. It has just all come on so suddenly, a couple of weeks ago he was at his engagement party then the next thing I know he is in hospital talking about his survival chances.

He says he can and will fight it and I sure hope he can becuase I am not sure what I'll do if he's not here with me.

C.


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Old 05-21-2003, 10:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for your replies.

My brother had his surgery and it turns out the cancers has spread to the surrounding area and has been diagnosed as stage high level II or low level 3. The doctors want to do more tests, a bone scan etc. before they decided the best cause of treatment. It has just all come on so suddenly, a couple of weeks ago he was at his engagement party then the next thing I know he is in hospital talking about his survival chances.

He is really strong, he says he can and will fight it and I sure hope he can becuase I don't really know what I'll do if he's not here with me.

C.


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Old 05-26-2003, 02:40 AM   #6
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Hi jellybean-
Stages 1 and 2 melanomas have a very high cure rate (over 80% is what I read in one of the recent medical journals)... And low level 3, while more serious, still has a VERY hopeful prognosis.
This sounds like it may be early and treatable, and hopefully the bone scans will be clean, and there is no distant metastasis.
Try not to be too anxious...ask lots of questions of the doctors, do your own research.
And come back here if you need us!

zuzu xxx



 
Old 06-14-2003, 11:27 PM   #7
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I am 10 yrs post melanoma from my right breast. Pretty interesting considering I never exposed myself to sun or tanning in that area EVER! For some melanoma treatments, they can actually develop a vaccine from the former tumor. If this ever came up, hopefully the pathologist will store the prior sample for a period of time, so I would suggest asking the Dr. about this. This was brand new when I had mine removed & the sample was sent to a University for a 2nd opinion from my HMO. Once done, the HMO let them toss it =(

Also, since the melanoma cells might reside within the person's system, if the patient should die, say in an accident, they shouldn't be an organ donor. There have been a number of cases, where multiple people from one donor have died afterwards because of the residual melanoma cells from the organs they received.

Good luck to your brother, & tell him to stay out of the sun

 
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