Hi, my name is Michelle. I was first diagnosed with melanoma in January 1999, center of my back, 1.28 Breslow, Clark III: treated with WLE, lymphoscintigraphy and SNB to both axilla – no regional/distant mets found, NED since then (other than about a dozen severely atypical moles that have been removed and treated with WLEs). So almost 20 years without a serious issue, an excellent result!
Yesterday I saw the derm and had a super fast-growing & changing mole (totally unlike anything I’d had before) removed from the back side of my left shoulder as suspicious for amelanotic nodular melanoma (eeeeeek!!!), plus a smaller satellite bump removed as suspicious for superficial spreading melanoma (which is what I had previously). Not a great morning, and I am now in the ‘biting my nails waiting for the pathology report’ phase. 😯
I’m also trying to come up to speed a little on the world of melanoma treatment in case the either biopsy actually does come back melanoma — boy have things changed alot since 1999!
1. I asked my derm about genetic testing of the biopsies (if melanoma). I was told that his pathology lab does not do genetic testing because it generates too many false positives/negatives. I just don’t know enough about this issue — is this something I should only worry about if I get staged with more advanced disease later, or do I need to be aggressive about that sort of information right out of the gate with these biopsies?
2. Since I’ve already had SNB to both axilla, can I actually have another SNB to the left armpit should that be necessary?
3. Anything else I need to do/ask about right up front?
The waiting is the hardest part and you don’t know yet what your pathology will show. When will the results come in? Amelanotic and nodular? Who speculated that? Hang on until you get the proper information. Genetic testing is done on the lesion itself if it is staged III or higher and that is to see if it is BRAF positive or not. Otherwise genetics play a small part in melanoma and really have no meaning to what you can do but be more vigilant. Try to stay calm, concentrate on breathing deeply and doing relaxing things. Get your pathology report and we can go over it with you either here or on our helpline. (610-942-3432)
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