Home Forums Melanoma: Newly Diagnosed – Stages I & II New to this, help required!

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  • #21392
    Bonny_Scott
    Participant

    Hi, unfortunately I am new to this experience and hope that there is someone out there who can offer to support or reassurance to me. I live in Scotland so my experience of the health care system may be slightly different to most I have read of so far.

    I am 48 years old and recently had a very small mole/freckle removed from my thigh. My GP intially said it was nothing to worry about but to remove it to put my mind at rest. It was duly removed by my GP and the results came back on Thursday to say it was a superficial spreading melanoma. To say that put me in a spin is an understatement, I called the GP who has said that it was completely removed and the good news was that it was thin, 0.5 mm. I have an appointment to see him on Wednesday to ask further questions, any advice on what to ask him would be appreciated. To me it was not ulcerated, the doctor did not mention that and said that he would refer me to the hospital where it would probably be a further excision. I am finding it difficult to cope now, I have quite a few moles and am now panicking that they might be suspicious also although there has been no change. Is this normal, am I ever going to go back to daily life again?

    In the past I liked to use sunbeds and lay in the sun on holiday – I used sunbeds quite frequently in my early 20s but not since then and have been quite a responsible sun worshipper, always using high factor spf when on holiday. I have huge guilts about this and think back to when I thought it was so cool to be tanned – couldn’t care less now.

    I am having difficulty in thinking past Wednesday when I meet my GP, he seemed unconcerned about the diagnosis but I am going to ask him for a copy of the pathology report as I don’t have the complete information that some of you guys have and haven’t got to grips with the terminology yet, it wasn’t even on my radar last week and now, bang, right back down to earth with a huge bump!

    Any help or assurance you can give me would be really appreciated.

    #61435
    cohanja
    Participant

    Yes, 0.5mm is pretty thin. Probably puts you at Stage IA (unless there was a mitotic rate, then IB I think). I think Catherine and others would tell you this is a pretty low risk lesion, congratulations on catching it early. Be vigilant about your skin, monitor any changes, get frequent skin checks/exams, etc. . After this wide excision (I’m assuming probably sentinel node biopsy would not be done here for a 0.5mm), there probably isn’t much else. Some doctors do annual chest xrays, some don’t if there are no symptoms.

    #61436
    Lisa P
    Participant

    Hi, Bonnie -First, I’m so sorry about your diagnosis,but am glad that you found this site. It’s a wonderful resource for information and comfort. I agree with Cohanja that you’re in good shape as 0.5mm is very thin and can usually be removed without further treatment or worry. Because you have many moles, it would be a good idea for you to see a dermatologist who is a skin cancer specialist, rather than a GP. Also, if you are able to find someone who does “grid photography” it will provide you with a baseline from which to measure possible changes later on. My photographs have given comfort in that my doctors can tell if something has evolved or if they have remained stable. I have had three melanomas removed in all and have been lucky enough to have caught them early. I’m incredibly vigilant about staying on top of things, and have put together a team of docs who look at me at different times every few months. I’m not sure how the health care system is in Scotland, but think you should ask your dermatolgist about what they might recommend in terms of who to see and how often you should see them. After my third diagnosis I was panic-stricken and thought I’d lose my mind. What I have since learned is that one can live a long and healthy life with this disease, as long as they can catch it early. The great news is that you are now aware and can make conscious decisions to stay ahead of the curve by being looked at regularly. Please take good care of yourself and stay in touch. Many of us are sending good wishes your way — Lisa P

    #61437
    Bonny_Scott
    Participant

    Just been to the doctor and think I have got positive news, can anyone help with interpretation of the pathology report?

    Histogenic type: superficial spreading malignant melanoma

    Growth characteristic: vertical growth phase

    Breslow thickness: 0.5 mm

    Clark level (if Breslow <1mm): III

    Ulceration: No

    Regression: No

    Lymphovascular invasion: No

    Microscopic satellites: No

    Tumour Infiltrating lymphocytes: Brisk

    Predominant cell type: Epithelioid

    Precursor Naevus: No

    Mitotic rate (VGP lesions only): 0 per mm2

    Nearest lateral margin: 1.5mm clear

    Nearest deep margin: 2.2 mm clear

    Completely excised

    Can anyone confirm or put in normal terms if this is good, I think it is ?

    #61438
    cohanja
    Participant

    I think pretty much same as what we initially said. . Stage IA. . lower risk. . . The survival rate for a stage IA lesion is not 100% although it is in the very high 90’s. There are no treatments for early stage melanoma beyond surgery. So go about and live life as normal, but pay attention to your body and what is normal for you, then if anything unusual shows up, get it checked out.

    #61439
    krissy424
    Participant

    Maybe I missed this detail Bonnie. Did you have a second surgery called a a Wide Excision ?

    This surgery removes a much larger area than the original mole removal in most cases. I’m 1A also. I have a scar about 8 inches long for a mole smaller than a tack head, but bigger than a pencil eraser.

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