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Malignant Melanoma in Lung

yorkie11
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

My brother was just diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma in his lung. The only other things I know are that they found the source of the cancer (it was on top of his head) and that there are little spots on his brain. From my understanding, he will have radiation therapy to hopefully remove the spotting on his brain, but the main problem is the stuff on his lung. For that, he will have chemo. Just wondering if that will even be effective and if so, for how long. Basically I would like some type of timeframe of how much time he will have left and if it is possible for him to beat this. Personally, I don't see why they don't do surgery on the lung tumor before or after doing the radiation therapy but then again I'm not an oncologist. Just looking for any feedback and/or support. Thanks.

cabbott
Posts: 1046
Joined: Aug 2006

Your brother, from what you say, has a type of skin cancer known as melanoma that has spread to his brain and his lung. That means it is no longer just in one spot. When cancer is just in one spot, surgery is usually performed to remove it. Surgery's like yanking a nasty weed that shows up for the first time in your garden. If you're lucky, the weed never shows up again. When cancer has seeded itself like dandelion seeds in a yard and spread in various places in the body, then chemotherapy is usually used. This works like weed killer in a yard for those pesty dandelions that seem to be everywhere. Just removing one tumor wouldn't work if things have spread(and trust me, the lung surgery has lots of side effects). I have read cases where chemo worked well enough that the surgeons finally did decide to remove the primary tumor, but that would be the spot on your brother's head in his case. Rarely are secondary tumors removed, though it can happen if the surgeon thinks the benefits are worth it. If breathing is a problem, radiation might be used to shrink the tumor(s) but to do any good chemo would be necessary to work on all the spots you can see and can't see (it takes about 2.5 years for most tumors to grow big enough to show on a scan).

You might try the board for skin cancer for more information too. Good luck!

yorkie11
Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks for your information. The seed comparison really helped me understand why surgery probably isn't the best option at this point. I posted the same thing on the skin cancer board. Right now, I'm just concerned about how long he will have to live and if possible, what are the chances of him beating it. Thanks again!

salysue
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2010

My mother-in-law also has lung melanoma and was checked from head to toe, but they could not find another place from which this could have metastasized from. She has had skin issues for years so it is thought that possibly one of her 'benign' skin lesions could have actually been misdiagnosed. This being said, she had one lobe of a lung removed. Now they tell her that there is no follow-up treatment for her condition. The oncologist said he would do some research to see if there is a clinical trial available. We have been told that lung melanoma is extremely rare.

RavenAmethyst
Posts: 4
Joined: Jun 2012

My mom was just diagnosed with the same thing and we have not met with oncologist to talk treatment. I pray she survived. Please let me know the treatment she used. Thank you and your in my prayers.

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