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Melanoma Stage I After Treatment

AliciaK
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2006

At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Stage I melanoma on my back. It came as quite a shock! They did a wide excision and removed 1" around the melanoma which all came back clean. Last year, 5 years after my initial diagnosis, I was diagnosed with another Stage I melanoma on my upper arm. They did a wide excision on that melanoma as well which came back clean. I have never had any other testing - lymph nodes, blood work, chest xrays, etc. The doctors told me that for Stage I melanoma the additional tests weren't necessary. I would just need periodic skin checks for the rest of my life. I have a lot of abnormal moles and I am freaked out by this concept. Are there any other Stage I survivors out there who get additional testing than periodic skin checks by their dermatologist?

micgrace
Posts: 131
Joined: May 2011

You will be OK. I am resigned to skin checks forever and a day too. Just get em early and not much of a problem although the hole left behind is a bit disfiguring if on the face.

Tirian's picture
Tirian
Posts: 9
Joined: Oct 2009

I go for quarterly head to toe skin checks with a magnifier and flashlight since my melanoma did not match any of the ABCD's. My dermatologist is very liberal with biopsies as well. I have also mapped my moles on paper and have taken pictures of some that I'm not sure about and then compare them later. I have so many that it's sometimes hard to keep track of them without writing it down. It also helps my dermatologist -- she has many patients to remember, I have only one, me.

The one thing that happened I wasn't expecting was since I don't spend ANY time in the sun, I became vitamin D deficient from the lack of sunlight. I take oral supplements and my levels are now fine.

You are a Survivor, whether it's Stage 0 or 4. Stay on top of it and don't ever be afraid of asking (and sometimes insisting) your doctor biopsy or otherwise evaluate something you're not comfortable with. The on-going mapping I've done shows my dermatologist I'm serious about this and have something tangible to support my request. I have never been refused.

Good luck -- stay pale ;-) -- and keep folks posted here!

Jim

SharonF
Posts: 2
Joined: Oct 2011

I too was diagnosed with stage 1 Melanoma and get check ups regularly. Annually my dermatologists will send me for blood work to check my LDH, but no other tests. I often wonder if I should insist on more due to the fact that I also have many basil cell carcinomas appearing and being removed. So far so good. But it is always a thought that crosses my mind.
I do know that she is insistent that I get all of my other regular check ups, because as she states, " melanoma can appear where the sun doesn't shine!". Other than that nothing.

Jasmiina's picture
Jasmiina
Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2011

Hi AliciaK,

I am very sorry you have to go through this for several times!
I guess there is no right answer for whether you should do something more than periodic skin checks, because, if you feel scared all the time, then maybe you really should do additional check-ups. Most often, I think, the patient is the one who chooses how many tests he/she want to make in order to feel safe and secure about the whole situation.
Latvian friend of mine had melanoma too, and she was advised to do the periodic skin checks. It kind of worked for her for a while - she wasn`t that scared. But after some time, she started to panic and stress out about cancer returning, even though there were no signs of it. Her oncologist prescribed a natural product of virotherapy, which activates immune system and fights with malignant cells (if they return), so this was what calmed my friend down.
Maybe consider some kind of natural medicine in order to feel sure that you are doing all you can in order to avoid return of cancer.
Best regards,
Jasmiina

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