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Stage III Melanoma, what to do?

Posts: 1
Joined: Feb 2007

I have T3N1 Stage III melanoma of the arm, and have had it removed, with two sentinel lymph nodes, one positive. I am being told to have all my lymph nodes under arm removed. My question is, has anyone out there refused this procedure, and what is the outcome? And how do you handle the lymphedema that I already have with just two nodes removed?

Carvs's picture
Posts: 30
Joined: Jul 2005

I am sorry that you have stage III melanoma. I also have stage III melanoma and had one positive sentinel node. I did get the lymph node dissection (LND - groin) and have lymphedema but it's managed pretty well at this point (I went to a lymphedema clinic that helped a lot). However, everyone doesn't get the LND when they have a postivie SNB. Moffit in FL, John Wayne Cancer Insitute in CA, the melanoma clinic in Buffalo, NY as well as others are conducting a trial where they have people that elect to chose quarterly ultrasound to following the lymph node basin with a positive SN rather than to have a full LND after the SNB. Also, some people choose on their own not to have the LND but are followed closely and if they have a recurrence in the lymph node basin, at that point they may get the full LND. Best of luck in your decision. Take care, Carver

1der's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2006

I was diagnosed with stage III/IV metastatic melanoma 13 months ago. At that time it was located in the inguinal nodes, reaching almost to the bifurcation of the aorta. I did not have a primary site, but surgical removal of all the lymph nodes in that area was an option. However, risk of recurrence was very high even with removing all the lymph nodes. You should probably check for your specific case, what they think the risk of recurrence is. If you need a reference, I went to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and my oncologist was Dr. William Scharfman. I opted for immumotherapy (IL-2). The IL-2 did a great job but it wasn't complete and started spreading again. When IL-2 is successful, the risk of recurrence is very low. Last November I entered a clinical trial at the National Cancer Institute (they require that you have undergone immunotherapy with IL-2 before any treatment there). The treatment was also immunotherapy. The melanoma is now back to one node and it is down to one centimeter size.

Whatever you decide, move quickly.

Posts: 2
Joined: Aug 2006

I'm also 3c and had two surgeries two remove tumors on my scalp. A few months ago we found enlarged nodes on my neck and Dr Moffat (FL - great doc) removed all. 8 of 23 had been infected. No serious side effects except numbness resulting from removal of a muscle and artery, and great peace of mind knowing that, for the time being, I'm cancer free. However, with melanoma there are so few treatments we all have to make the personal choices that work for us. I'm passing on Interfereon, but am keeping my options open if any treatment that shows promise comes up. Good luck.

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