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Newly diagnosed: questions to ask doctor

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2012

My father has recently been diagnosed with Melanoma...unsure what stage it is at this point. Dermatologist determined that the biopsy showed that the cancer has entered his bloodstream and may have traveled to the lymph nodes. He been referred to general surgeon for further evaluation. Can anyone suggest good questions to ask at this point in his journey? Thanks so much in advance.

Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2011

My husband has metastatic melanoma and one of the things that got lost in translation between the surgeon who discovered the cancer in my husband and his oncologist was a scan of his head; they did from the neck down but not his head. Had the tumor in his head not hemorrhaged, we would not have known about the brain tumor until it was too late. Luckily, the tumor was in a good place,I mean if your going to have a brain tumor, the right front where his was was a good thing because the only lasting effects to him were that he has to take anti-seizure medication which is a mild one and has no real side effects. If your father has melanoma that has gotten to the lymph system, ask about where or not his melanoma has the B-Raf mutation. This is a mutation that I think about 75% of people with melanoma have and there is a new drug called Zelboraf that he can take. My husband was weeks away from hospice this past summer before he took that, his scans looked like had been hit with a paintball gun, tumors everywhere. Zelboraf stopped the cancer in its tracks and got rid of almost all of them. Now, the only bad thing I can say, is like all chemos it can shut down and stop killing the cancer. There is a new drug trial I am currently trying to get my husband into, because we have now started hospice. My husband has stage 4; meaning we didn't catch it before it got to this stage; so the Zelboraf was never going to cure him, only give us more time and I am thankful for the time we have left. Not everyone who gets melanoma has the same story so please don't panic. Stay positive for your father and prayers help a lot. This cancer discussion board also helps a lot. You can add me if you want and send me messages, I will try to help as much as I can. We stayed positive and are still being positive with prayers and maybe we can get a little more time with the new drugs. Make sure you ask about what stage he is at, melanoma is closely tied to the immune system, so try to keep up with vitamins and iron for your dad. And I will keep you in our prayers. Angie

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