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What should I expect ?

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Just wondering what I should expect to happen. I am a recent iraq veteran, I had 2 moles removed from my back about 3 weeks ago, one was described as atypical with further removal recommended, the other biopsy report was superficial spreading melanoma clark level iv, .90MM. my insurance is changing this month, as I am back on active duty, so I have been struggling to get authorization to see a surgeon, hopefully that will be worked out in the next few days, but should I try to see an oncologist also? I just saw my new family physican today and he identified 14 other suspicous moles that he said needed to be removed asap. dont know if that could be accomplished at the same time yet.should I expect to have the sentinal lymp node removal also or is this not bad enough for that? new to all of this so those with experience I welcome any input as this is a shock to me and my wife. thanks

Posts: 82
Joined: Apr 2009


hopefully someone can answer some questions for you...

wishing you luck.

Posts: 3
Joined: Oct 2009

First, Thank you for your service! I am in the Louisiana National Guard and was diagnosed with a stage 4 melanoma that spread to 2 lymph nodes. I am not sure if I am in the same boat as you, I work agr, but because of the distance to any medical facalities I use civillian doctors. my primary care discovered the melanoma and within a week I was referred to a general surgeon who removed the mole and did the sentinal lymph node biopsy. 2 nodes came back positive. I had to wait three weeks to heal from the first surgery before going back to have more lymph nodes removed. all were tested and all were negative for melanoma. I was then put on 52 weeks of interferon. thankfully I have been clear since. I have a pet/cat scan next month and hopefully it will come back clear as well.
Everything for me happened very fast and tri-care quickly approved all refferals. My primary care physician set me up with everyone, the surgeon, the oncologist and the dermatologist. I would think it should be the same or even easier being on active duty. Please keep me informed as I can see it has been a couple of months since you posted this. I hope I was able to help at least a little.

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks for the advice to all of you,DJblank6, I am also AGR and the insurance problem has worked out as you advised, thanks.

I had a re-excission on my shoulder from the original melanoma site, since I had a shaved biopsy originally, The plastic surgeon wanted to try to find the true size of the melanoma, the path report came back negative. I had a WLE and SNB, the cut on my back ended up to be about 7", and 5 lymph nodes where removed from under my arm, I get my stitches out next week. The path report now shows melanoma at the margins from the WLE, but it is said to be in situ.,so I will have to have more surgery from there to find clear margins, scheduled in about 3 weeks to give time to heal, also cancer in 1 lymph node., It was sent for a second opinion but I am scheduled to have the additional nodes removed and am waiting to see an oncologist to begin interferon treatmants that where recommended by the plastic surgeon.

He suggested that I may not be able to work during these treatmants,but I havent seen the oncologist yet to hear his thoughts on this.


yalleh's picture
Posts: 36
Joined: Jul 2009

Hopefully this helps....

You should have the lymph node checked. As long as you only have moles you have any excellent chance to live a long and healthy life (96% chance of survival)... once the melanoma spreads to you lymph node then you are diagnosed as stage 3 melanoma and the sooner you find this out and get treatment the better you chance to survive (5 yr survival rate is 50% without and 65% with treatment). Once it spreads past the first lymph node than you are stage 4 and you are in for a serious fight.

As for the 14 moles, just get them cut off no big deal, they just look like you have bullet wounds (should impress your army buddies). I was told to pass them off as bullet wounds and become a rapper.

As for the oncologist, this is only needed if you find it has spread,.

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks yalleh,

I will have the rest of the nodes removed Dec 8th and see what happens, thanks for your help, I would think I wouldnt start the interferon untill after surgery but I am not sure at this point.

Posts: 10
Joined: Nov 2009

I was diagnosed with Clark’s level 3 and told no problem; don't have to see an oncologist or any further treatment. The boarders were clear from the biopsy. It progressed to my lymph nodes and now I am dealing with melanoma in my liver, stage 4! See an oncologist, Please!


milikaa1's picture
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2009

I was diagnosed in 1998 with stage III melanoma, had a deep wide excision, SNB and lymph nodes under right arm removed, at that time I was told chemo/radiation would not help. I am still fighting this to this day. All my moles come back atypical, I had two at there margins for cancer when my insurance changed in 2003, I fell through the cracks and the new care giver did not treat them.

I lost count, but have had about 40 moles removed, just had another deep wide excision.

It is a shock to say the least when you are diagnosed, you will probably have to be checked on a regular basis by a dermatologist, (with me, regular doctors refuse to touch me), the biopsies are not fun at all, I just think of them as my "battle scars", but this is something you will have to get use to, make sure you wear sunscreen and talk to your doctor about your sun exposure, if you are in the military and out in the sun, this is not good, but he/she can help you best, and expect to be treated regularly.

Thank you for your service and for protecting my family and I!

Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2009

First I want to echo others and offer my thanks and respect for your service. I saw my dermatologist in April because my wife insisted that a growth on my head should be checked. Three weeks later the dermatologist called and told me that it was melanoma. She made an appointment for me to see a surgeon the very next week. Three weeks later I had surgery and a second surgery six weeks after that. The surgeon connected me with an oncologist. My melanoma was diagnosed as Stage 3. It is was atypical and very deept. I am now on Interferon. I would encourage you to be very aggressive in treating this. I am doing what I can so I can have the hope of seeing grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 2009

Happy dad,

How has your experience with the interferon been ? Have you been able to work? Any insight would be helpful, thanks

Posts: 16
Joined: Jun 2009

I can't deny that the IV period of the Interferon was brutal for lack of a better description. I was spared some of the side effects, but I had the fever, chills, aches, and loss of appetite. The loss of appetite wasn't such a bad thing; I had plenty of weight to lose. During the IV period I didn't make it to work every day. I teach a college statistics class and was able to drag (and I mean drag) myself in to teach my class for the first three weeks of the semester. Since I have been on the shots, I get in to work everyday. My primary job is as an IT manager where I work. My biggest nemesis is chronic fatigue. I don't always get in to work first thing in the morning and I am not quite as productive as I expect myself to be. I am fortunate that my employer is very supportive and I have great staff. Before I started the Interferon, I asked the oncologist if I would be able to work. His response was that as long as I had a place to rest when I needed it, I should be able to work. So some days I take a short break and then get back to work. I also count the months and weeks till I will be done with the shots! I plan to have a party then.

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