Home Forums Melanoma: Newly Diagnosed – Stages I & II Not sure what to think?

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  • #20578
    rainyandgray
    Participant

    Yesterday morning I got a call from my dermatology office- …2 mole biopsies were normal and the 3rd mole on my back was a superficial-spreading melanoma. I didn’t really know what questions to ask but they made a referral for me to see a surgeon next week to discuss a possible wide excision/sentenial node biopsy. All day yesterday I was in a fog, and all day today I’ve been wiping tears away. I’m confused- about what this means- and I guess I will need to wait to discuss with the surgeon to see what this all means. Today I called them back and got some questions answered- so here is the information I have: Breslow 1.0mm, Clarks Level 3, nonulcerated. The mole that was biopsied was on my back and itching like crazy, which is why I wanted it removed (the dermatologist didn’t think it was suspicious- and was just as surprised it was a melanoma).

    I’m wondering does this mean I do have a malignancy/melanoma is a cancer right? Is it possible this could be Stage 0 and caught in time?

    Never expected this kind of diagnosis…and don’t know what to expect.

    #56162
    goldengirl2011
    Participant

    Welcome to the forum, and sorry you had to join us. Based on the info you posted, you are stage 1. You’ll most likely need a Sentinal Node Biopsy. You can learn more about this by reading the info under the Newly Diagnosed link in the blue box above. A second opinion also never hurts. Good luck, and ask as many questions as you need to. Knowledge is a powerful thing.

    #56163
    rainyandgray
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply- I’ve combed through all the information online but I’m still having trouble processing things. It seems like a long time to wait 6 days to figure out a treatment plan with the surgeon. If I do need the sentinel node biopsy how long of a recovery should I expect? It’s hard for me to take time off from work, so I am hoping a 3 day weekend is long enough. What have others experienced as far as recovery?

    #56164
    itom
    Participant

    That would depend on where your sentinel nodes are as well as what you do for work. Because the mole is on your back it will most likely go to your axilla or groin depending on the location on your back. They don’t want you to lift more than 10 pounds for the first few weeks. Mine was in my neck so I could lift after only a week. As far as pain goes, for me it only hurt for the first couple days since they give you pain pills. For the anasthesia everyone is different, for me it only took the day to recover. Therefore if you don’t have to do any heavy lifting in your job, I would say three days wouldbye long enough.

    #56165
    rainyandgray
    Participant

    Thanks so much for the feedback- it is so helpful to get straightforward answers from others who have gone through the same diagnosis. The mole was on the right side of my back under the shoulder blade- so about the middle right. The mole was very itchy for several months which was the only clue, otherwise the dermatologist said it didn’t look at all suspicious. In fact, the area is still itchy even though it’s been almost 2 weeks since it was removed. I hope that doesn’t indicate any problem-

    I haven’t told anyone about the diagnosis other than my spouse. I’m 41 and have had several surgeries over the past several years including my gallbladder just last month, hysterectomy, etc. I don’t want to freak out my family until I know for sure what I’m dealing with.

    #56166
    Worrywart
    Participant

    Hi Rainy –

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma. Try to take it one day at a time. The mole is removed now, so look at that as a good thing. Next step is excision and node biopsy, and then staging. Get a copy of your pathology report (if you haven’t already). A second opinion on pathology is also (in my opinion) mandatory with any cancer diagnosis. Just call your doc and have him/her send slides to a dermatopathologist that specializes in melanoma. The waiting is most difficult part. You have high odds of node biopsy being negative, and then you can start to move fwd with life as usual. It takes time though, so just realize that the time immediately following a cancer diagnosis is full of uncertainty and stress. Ask your Doc for anxiety meds if you feel you need it, just to get thru this part.

    #56167
    rainyandgray
    Participant

    Thanks for the support and info everyone! I finally got the pathology report to review- and I was pretty upset to find out my doc did a shave biopsy. I guess it makes sense because she had no concern whatsoever that the mole was even suspicious. Is it correct that the true depth of the melanoma can’t be assessed when a shave biopsy is done? I also noticed that there was not a mitosis rate measurement- is that unusual?

    Proliferation of atypical epitheloid melanocytes arrayed along dermoepidermal junctions as single cells and irregularly sized/shaped nests with pagetoid migration evident. Nests of similar appearing cells present in the subadjacent dermis. Chronic inflammation in the superficial dermis.

    I finally have my surgical consult in 2 days…

    #56168
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Doesn’t sound like melanoma to me. Anything else on the report? Why the surgeon, for a reexcision?

    #56169
    cohanja
    Participant

    Earlier in the thread you had stated ” Breslow 1.0mm, Clarks Level 3, nonulcerated” which sound like melanoma path report stats, did they tell you this initially?

    #56170
    Worrywart
    Participant

    She said it was Breslow 1.0, Superficial spreading, so definitely a melanoma.

    Don’t worry about the biopsy type, that only matters if the lesion was intersected (cut in half and went deeper). If that happened, the path report would have said something to the effect of: A minimum of 1.0 depth, lesion extends to deep margins.

    Let us know how your consult goes!

    #56171
    Catherine Poole
    Keymaster

    Sorry, long day, and I didn’t revisit the other threads. Hope all goes well at the consult.

    #56172
    rainyandgray
    Participant

    Yes, worrywart, it was a Breslow stage 3, 1 mm… I just added the rest of the report because I just didn’t have that info initially. No worries Catherine- it really helps just to have the feedback and support. I’m doing better now as I continue to gather info and learn about the terminology. Thanks everyone.

    #56173
    Worrywart
    Participant

    It’s actually CLARKS 3, not stage 3. It’s probably stage 1 but staging will occur after SNB. Clean SNB = stage 1 (which odds are hugely in your favor for negative SNB).

    #56174
    Worrywart
    Participant

    Catherine Poole wrote:

    Sorry, long day, and I didn’t revisit the other threads. Hope all goes well at the consult.

    Happens to all of us! ;)

    #56175
    goldengirl2011
    Participant

    Sounds like you’re in great hands. Let us know how the SNB goes.

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