Home Forums Melanoma Diagnosis: Stages I &II Just need to vent

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    Are there any other Canadians out there?

    So aggravated by the health care system here.

    Sure we are covered and health care costs are low, but there is a definite down side….waiting!

    I had a biopsy done on April 12th – the dermatologist referred me to a surgical oncologist on probably a week later (when he got the path report) and I am still waiting for a surgery date for the WLE and SNB.

    I am trying my best to remain calm and go on as normal, but I want to change jobs and make summer plans and am stuck in limbo, waiting!

    The surgeon mentioned getting me in June 6th but that date has obviously passed, seems it is up to the administrator as to who has priority. I tried to call a few times but impossible to get through.

    About 10 days ago I broke out into hives, which I still have. I think that is caused by the underlying stress of waiting.

    Thanks for letting me vent here – feel better already.

    Catherine Poole

    I am really happy you wrote this at this time as I leave for Montreal next week and I am seeking all the info I can find on the system before my meeting. That really is a long wait! Do you not have some sort of appeal?


    Hi Catherine,

    I wouldn’t even know who to appeal to, to be honest. Our health care system is in dire straights. My dad needed a hip replacement last year and it was going to be a 2 year wait, luckily he found someone who could get him in sooner as he was in serious pain.

    I have never needed the medical system much until now, so have little experience with it. It is almost impossible to find a GP – most people go to walk in clinics.

    I think I will have to make a fuss to nail down an appointment.

    Have fun in Montreal- beautiful city!


    Catherine Poole

    I rarely have fun on my travels, usually work related, but I hope to get filled in on your health system and what needs to bring it around. Ours isn’t too great either, especially if you don’t have insurance or money. I have a board member from Calgary who has great knowledge on dealing with your system, so I will share anything I learn. By all means make a fuss, you have to do that here too!


    Hi, I’m in Edmonton and I can tell you that the wait is frustrating. My lesion was similar to yours, it was at least .65mm deep, clarks level III, mitosis 2, focal regression present but it was partial. I was diagnosed last year on May 8, I needed a WLE and they suggested a Slnb because of the mitotic index. I waited 3 weeks for a surgical consult and derm appointment, then had the WLE and slnb on July 6. So I had to wait 2 months for the surgery and that was with the surgeon saying he would get me in earlier because mine was an urgent surgery. The reason for the urgency was the original physician didn’t think it was melanoma so she cut it out poorly so there was invasive melanoma at the margins where usually there would only be in situ melanoma left behind. I had the slnb and they biopsied one lymph node and thankfully it came back negative for melanoma. I’m doing fine now and I go for checkups now with a derm every 6 months. I’m thankful that I had the slnb because it gives you that extra peace of mind that the cancer has likely not spread from the primary site. I’m hoping that everything goes well for you with the slnb and everything comes back negative. For the focal regression, my derm is a melanoma specialist and is the department head at the university of alberta, he was not concerned about the regression in my case and doesn’t even seem to be concerned about the mitosis. I think he is looking more at the fact that my depth was only .65mm and my slnb was negative so that my chance of a recurrence is very low.



    Hi John,

    My dermatologist referred me to a surgical oncologist that seems to specialize in mastectomies. One the upside – she is very skilled doing SNLBs – on the downside it seems there are many people in need of more urgent care..than me :(

    I almost had to wait 6+ months for a derm appt. – but opted for a Dr. lacking in beside manner to get an earlier appointment. That wait is rather scary, as a few months can make a difference in melanoma cases (i know that now)

    I am in Vancouver – you would think that you could get a procedure done here without waiting forever.

    Oh well, hopefully I will get an appointment soon.



    Hi there,

    I live in the UK and my wait time was as follows

    30th June – docs apt to show him four moles

    8th July – Hospital apt – agreed to remove one mole with the attitude it looks ok but if you say it’s changed we better take it off

    19th July – mole removed

    21st Sep – Hospital apt – ‘ very surprised’ result was Melanoma

    24th Oct WLE scheduled

    I changed myself from that hospital to another one, was seen and had my WLE done on the 5th Oct

    I really struggled with the stress the whole delay caused, especially when the path report was done quickly but no one bothered telling me as ‘ two staff were allowed annual leave at the same time when its only usually one’! I put myself into a 6 week long migraine resulting in a brain MRI needing to be done.

    It’s not acceptable. But you can only do what’s in your power in relation to changing hospitals if you’re allowed under your health care system. The key is to try not to panic if you have to wait.

    Now I’ve calmed down I can see I was lucky as the original excision removed all the melanoma and the WLE was just done to get bigger margins.

    Also on the plus side, the new hospital reread my sides so I ended up with a second opinion too.

    Take care



    Wow Rojam – the UK really has Canada beat when it comes to waiting…yeesh!

    Universal health care at its finest.

    Our health care system is rapidly becoming 2 tier, those with $$ go across the border or go to private clinics (not covered by the medical system) to get things taken care of faster.

    I am not really stressed about the melanoma, although admit there is a slight nagging worry that I don’t have the all clear. I just really want to change jobs and great opportunities have been coming up. I am not sure when I will be available so it is causing me great frustration. Luckily it hasn’t manifested into migranes, but I suspect the hives I have had almost 2 weeks are caused by the quiet stress.

    Also the biopsy site has healed up nicely, is starting to fill in and look almost normal…and then I will have to start a square one.


    I foolishly assumed no news was good news. Big mistake, should of been the squeaky wheel Catherine and others wisely recommend.

    Hope you get it sorted soon so you can move on with your life. So frustrating


    Catherine Poole

    Our system is two tiered as well: the haves and the have nots. We have so many uninsured or underinsured who get little or no treatment. Also, the wealthy have better access to the specialists etc. Is it not all about money? My education so far about Canada is that if you have political pull or money, you can lie or your doctor can lie and you can get things accomplished sooner. For example to move up a colonoscopy appointment which can take a few years, you lie and say you have blood in your stool.

    What is the answer to this madness in all of our countries? Good healthcare should be a right not a privilege.


    Well I just got a hold of the surgeons office, I may get an appointment in August….maybe.

    That will be a 5 month wait from diagnosis.

    All I can say is aargh!


    I hear ya ! I’d be mad too, you would think they would want to get it done sooner to hopefully get it all before it might spread. Stay strong ! You gonna still go ahead w/ your bicycle thing ? May as well !


    Sure hope it is OK to leave it that long 😯 guess I don’t really have much of a choice.

    Yep – better start riding and get into shape for that 100K+ ride.

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