View Full Version : Malignant Melanoma on leg...info please!!!

12-12-2006, 04:55 AM
Hi, This is not for myself, but rather for my eldest brother who is 39 and 1200klms away from me. I, along with his mum and brother are extremely concerned about him and want some info on his diagnosis that he received yesterday. He is to see a surgeon next monday, but we are all really concerned as most of you can imagine. He developed a lump on his leg an unknown time ago on his calf. He only recently, (last couple of days), went to see a doctor due to his jeans rubbing on it and annoying him. The doctor removed part of it and had it tested. He was diagnosed with it being a malignant melanoma, but we are looking for some direction on what the following means: "clark level 4 nodular malignant melanoma....2mm thickness......12mm lesion embedded". Any help from someone who understands this would be greatly appreciated, another thing that may be useful is that they are going to remove the lymph glands in his groin......I am very worried about him and really need to know what to expect......good or bad. :(

12-12-2006, 06:48 AM

I know what your brother is going through as I was diagnosed with Stage 1B melanoma this past August. I had a mole removed and biopsied that came back positive for Melanoma. I was VERY scared as well. I met with my doctor and was told that I would have to have surgery to remove the margins around where the mole was removed. He also wanted me to have a Sentinal Node Biopsy done before my surgery. This is where they inject some radioactive fluid into the area where the Melanoma was and watch/map which lymphnode this fluid drains to. Then they mark it and you go into surgery where they remove that lymphnode as well as the margins. Both the tissue and my lyphnode cames back Cancer free which was awesome. So make SURE your brother has the Sentinal Node Biopsy done. If the nodes come back clean there's an excellent chance that the Melanoma is nowhere else in his body. A month after my surgery I met with an Oncologist and he wanted me to have a PET scan to make sure that there's no Melanoma elsewhere in my body. I had that done last Thursday and will meet with him tomorrow morning to go over the results.

Find out what stage your brothers' melanoma is in-that helps in getting more precise info. Plese post anymore questions you may have for me.

12-12-2006, 07:11 AM
Hello, apliece--

My father has gone through the same thing. He was diagnosed with melanoma about 4-5 years ago. Here's the basic sequence of events.

1. He went in to have his knee worked on, only to find a mole that sported stage 3 melanoma.

2. The dr's performed surgery to remove some lymph nodes from the knee, groin, and one or two other areas--I forget specifically where. (In case you didn't know, lymph nodes act like filters in an aquarium or a ventilation system--they catch impurities...however, normally they can eliminate impurities, but cancer can often be too much for them to handle, hence the reason they are removed.)

3. They performed an experimental procedure of running chemo through his leg, which killed any remaining forms of cancer. :blob_fire

4. Throughout the course of this mess, many localized scans, as well as full-body scans were performed. Often these included shots of dye to make cancerous cells more visible.

5. The experimental procedure was the one that finally did it! He has officially been cancer free for about a year now. :cool: He has since been taking shots to prevent a recurrence. The shots contain some chemical that can mess with your mind and sink you into a chemical depression, but the lower-dosage shots aren't so bad. I think 8-9 more months of these shots should be the duration of the treatment.

6. When it's all said and done, it took 7 normal surgeries plus the experimental one, which makes 8, 1 month of high-dosage preventative injections, 11 months of low-dosage preventative injections (which he is still on), and of course many routine check-ups to make sure that when it's gone it doesn't come back. Sadly, the more treatment you go through, the more your chances of success diminish. As of the end of his injections, he'll be down to a 35% chance of success. :dizzy: Not the greatest of odds, but he's still around and that's all I'm asking for.

Also, I will tell you of another acquaintence of mine who was diagnosed with cancer. His was so advanced that he was given a month to live. He was a successful, powerful businessman who has money to throw around, so he offered $10,000 towards cancer research for every treatment he receives. He was diagnosed before my dad was. Both my dad and this other guy still own and operate their own businesses on a daily basis. Both are alive and well. Both still have happy family lives. And both are cancer-free.

Take heart, my friend, and don't lose hope.

12-12-2006, 08:50 AM
When you dad had the experimental treatment where they just put chemo is his leg did have the harsh side affects of Chemo? Did he lose his hair?

Had the melanoma spread to his lymphnodes or other organs?????

12-12-2006, 09:14 AM
When you dad had the experimental treatment where they just put chemo is his leg did have the harsh side affects of Chemo? Did he lose his hair?

Had the melanoma spread to his lymphnodes or other organs?????

The only side effect we noticed was a lack of energy since the chemo is so draining. He did not lose any hair. Any cancer he had was caught while still in lymph nodes and did not spread elsewhere.

12-12-2006, 11:17 AM
Thank you so much for you helpful information. I just am praying my PET scan comes back clean- the odds are in my favor since it hadn't spread to my lymphnodes. But it's just really scary!!!

12-12-2006, 12:22 PM
Thank you so much for you helpful information. I just am praying my PET scan comes back clean- the odds are in my favor since it hadn't spread to my lymphnodes. But it's just really scary!!!

Be sure and let us know how things turn out. :angel:

12-12-2006, 06:28 PM
Hi Apleice....I don't know if you read my story about melanoma and it doesn't really matter if you did or not...However, after reading your post I went through some of my brothers medical records and what I found was: Clarks level 4 means that the lesion (or malignant melanoma nodule) has gone beyond just his skin to his reticular dermis....Deeper than just the skin but not quite as deep as the subcutaneous fatty tissue (which is next)....Clarks has five levels and the prognosis gets worse with each level. However, 2mm thick and 12mm embedded (meaning how deep it is) isn't really all that big....Some of my brothers tumors were 2-cm which I guess is huge....Tumors and lesions have only one difference and that is the size....However, your brothers symptoms and diagnosis seem worrisome to me....It would seem that maybe his disease is further progressed than he anticipated. I would recommend SPEEDY treatment.....Whatever treatment may be available and whatever he is willing to try....I think that time is of the essence here...I am not trying to scare you-but, please take this serious....I had no idea how serious this disease is until it hit me and my family HARD...If you wonder what I am talking about read my post called "story about melanoma"....My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family....Please keep us posted as to his progress......good luck and GOD bless.....

12-13-2006, 12:52 AM
Thank you all so much for your support, my mum has been on here and is very thankful for the info/support. My family has been through a tough time in the last couple of years and this was the icing on a very stale cake, I must say. I will certainly keep updating the progress of my brother, if nothing else it will be a step by step guide to what happens to him for anyone facing this horrible disease. Blazer76, I did read the story you have posted and it was the main reason I decidied to sign up and ask for help. Being a true aussie, my brother used to be a keen surfer and beach fanatic, but at this moment he lives close to the well known Mt Kosciosko, far from any beach and works on a farm. He was on his way to meet his niece and two nephews only weeks ago for the first time, when his car broke down only 2 hours away from my house, we didn't get to see him. These are not the best circumstances to show us just how important it is to keep not only in verbal contact, but more importantly in physical contact with our families. I have not seen my brother for a very long time, somewhere around 7 years, even though when growing up he was my big bro who taught me how to play hockey and taught me so much about life after our dad left us and our family. I will be making more of an effort to stay in touch with my family because of this, though it is sad to think that this is what it took to make me wake up to this..... again thank you all so much and I will keep you updated

12-13-2006, 08:54 AM
Please Please stay on top of this Melanoma. Don,t let the Doctors give you the run around.My brother found out he week before Easter he had Melanoma stage 3.Well they put off treatment for one reason or another and when they did want to start a treatment it was experimental which was the month of July by then too late he past away in August.So please please take care and stay after the Doctors fo:angel: r help..

12-13-2006, 02:57 PM
My PET testcame back clean. No cancer anywhere. Will alternate every 3 months seeing a dermatologist and my oncologist for the next 3 years. Melanoma is SO scary but curable if you get it early. I will continue to pray for all on this board. Thanks so much foe everyone's input. It really helped!!!

12-14-2006, 05:10 AM

:) :jester: :cool: :angel: :D :bouncing:

12-14-2006, 08:23 AM
Ascott that's AWESOME......Congrats....You are right about melanoma being treatable if caught early....Please take your follow ups serious!!!! God bless....

12-14-2006, 10:45 AM
:angel: So Glad to hear your good News :wave:

12-17-2006, 05:23 PM
That's the best news I've heard in a long time :D

Good luck! Keep those checkups!

12-19-2006, 08:28 AM
Hi All,

Well sorry for the delay in updating.......my brother is going in for surgery on the 27th or 28th of this month. They say that he will be in theatre for about an hour, and he will be off work for around 3 weeks. In the meantime he has to have blood tests and a chest xray done. If things don't look to good they are going to move him to the nearest capital city to him for further treatment. My biggest fear at the moment is they are xraying his chest???? Does this mean that they suspect that the cancer has spread that far, or is the lungs generally the first thing it goes for???? He is very nervous and seems to be very worried.

I want to share something with you guys that I just have to get off my chest.....my brother used to have a partner who walked out on him with his son one day he was at work. A short time after this, his 'ex' met a new guy and stopped him from seeing his son, at the time his son was not more than 2 years old. This all had a terrible effect on him and he eventually hitchhiked 12-1300 klms, got robbed and bashed along the way, and eventually ended up near Mt Kosciousko where he got a job on a farm.......that was nearly 8 years ago. He has not seen his son in that time, yet still pays his 'ex' the mandatory payment for his son, even though his son would not know him. Now, you tell me this.......why is it that someone who has had such a terrible time ends up in the position he is in??? If this disease takes his life, I think that it is a sad state of affairs when his own son will never know. He is a great person and would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it more than him.........if anyone tells me that this is gods will..blah...blah...blah, don't be too offended if I tell you that if there is a god, he sucks. :(

12-19-2006, 12:15 PM
Don't worry. When they found my melanoma and I had to have blood work and a chest xray done before I had the surgery. I was freaking out too- especially since I have smoked on and off for the last 15years. But all came back clear.

I understand about saying things suck right now. My dad passed away 7 months ago after a tragic accident at our cabin. Then 5 months after that I was diagnosed with my melanoma. I said to myself " What the he**??? How can such a bad thing be happening to me after losing my dad????" BUt I kept on praying and had everyone around me praying for me as well. After my surgery and all my test came back clear- I can say that I am currently melanoma free. So please keep positive. I know it's hard but I truely believe it works!

12-19-2006, 12:37 PM
first of all-good luck to your brother....I would imagine that they are doing chest x-rays to determine if there are any nodules (tumors) in his lungs...When my brother first got sick that was the first thing they did to him as well.....I am not sure if that is the first place that the tumors grow or what-but, that was the first thing they checked on my bro,......
As far as the rest of your story about your brothers difficulties, it's funny you would mention all of that because my brother was kind of in the same boat. He had two ex-wives, both of whom really screwed him over...He also went many years without seeing his two older children because of his nasty first ex-wife.....And he also struggled with alchoholism and drug addiction as well as a tendancy to pick the wrong people as friends and lovers. We always used to joke him that he was getting one sh** sandwich after another....He was a wonderful person....Probably toooo good to live in such a terrible place...When he was dying it was almost a relief because all of his suffering and heartache and sadness was going to be over....Not only the suffering from the disease but the suffering that he endured in his life....I rationalize it to myself like this: He tried and tried to be a good person, which he succeeded at-however, everything else seemed to go south on him time and time again....I think that God loved him soooo much that He (God) decided that my brother had had enough and so the Lord took him and all of his problems away from this horrible place....I feel that now, God is taking care of my brother like no-one ever could...My brother is at peace now, no more Sh** sandwiches.....Maybe God is trying the same with your bro...It's funny to me that it seems that some people suffer more than others...But, I think that God has a plan for all of us...We all have suffering of one kind or another...Maybe it just seems that some people suffer more...I am not going to tell you that it's Gods will, and that everything will be fine...I would be lying...I know it feels like everything won't be fine....One thing I do know for certain though is this: My brother is in a far better place than he ever was here on earth....try to keep your chin up...All you can really do is try to stay positive and no matter how hard please try to pray...If not for anything else pray that you will be able to make it through this difficult time....good luck, and you are in my thoughts and prayers as well....Things aren't always as bad as they seem, and the chest x rays are probably just a precaution....Be glad that they are checking everything out for your brother....That's his best chance....God bless

12-19-2006, 01:32 PM

I have to agree with the others..time is of the essence when it comes to melonoma. I am a 48 year old female and I noticed a "freckle" on my arm back in July of this year. I went to my medical doctor and she referred me to a dermotologist which I saw about a week later. This dermotologist told me he didn't think it was anything and was comfortable sending me home without a biopsy. I insisted he biopsy it since it looked "wrong" to me. He did and it came back stage 1 melonoma. Well let's just say that I went to another dermotologist and had the surgeory to remove the melonoma. The dermotologist told me I had a 99.9% success rate of a full recovery since I caught it so early. I am now being seen every 3 months by my dermotologist for check-ups. It doesn't have to a be a mole or a lesion, mine was just a freckle that the color had changed on.

Now if we can just figure out why my platelet count is high! I went for my yearly physical in September and had a great check-up till the blood work came back with elevated platelet level (514). I will now see a hemotologist Jan 2 to see what is up with that! I am hoping 2007 will be a better year than 2006!


01-04-2007, 02:27 AM
Hi All,

Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been waiting on a call to find out what is going on. My mum was able to go down to my brother, but I am financially unable to do the same at the moment. I just received a call from her saying that my brother has been into surgery on the 27th and they removed two 'sentinel lymph nodes' and another chunk out of his calf. They also gave him four injections into his stomach to thin his blood? I don't understand exactly what that all means, but I will look it up on the net. But as usual if anyone here knows why they would do that, please do let me know. He goes back to see his doctor in ten days for the results of the biopsy, I'm guessing on the nodes, to find out what they are going to do next. I have been told that he is in a lot of pain and is very tired and not feeling very well at all. I am hoping for some good news, but by the sound of my mum, it isn't looking to good. Will update as soon as I get more news.