Home Forums Melanoma: Newly Diagnosed – Stages I & II SNB decision – what would you do?

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    I was diagnosed last month with a .78mm melanoma. No ulceration, no mitosis. This isn’t my first time at the melanoma rodeo; I had an in-situ back in 2006 and a WLE at that time. This time, however, I am faced with the decision of whether or not to have a SNB along with the WLE. I am right on the cusp of the recommendation. Some institutions would recommend it, others would not. My surgeon says he doesn’t think I need it, but will do it if it gave me peace of mind.

    On the one hand, I know this is a thin lesion and I have nothing in my pathology that suggests it is particularly aggressive. I am also well aware of the many studies that found no correlation between SNB and survival rates. Logically, I know I don’t “need” a SNB.

    I know that there can be complications from SNB, but the “complication” of the melanoma spreading undetected scares me as well.

    Where I really get stuck though, is imaging the conversation I’m eventually going to have with my tween and teen children to inform them about what is going on, I want to be able to tell them I’ve done everything possible to ensure I’m going to be here a very long time.

    One hour I’m sure I’m going to get it done. The next hour I’m sure I’m not.

    So…if you were me, what would you do? (And please don’t tell me to do what’s right for me or what I feel in my gut. My gut is a very indecisive thing right now)

    Catherine Poole

    Can you post more about your pathology? I would love to see you get a second opinion by someone such as Marty Mihm, or UPENN. Just have the slides sent. Where on your body was the lesion? That is important too. I know it is hard to decide, but sometimes another opinion can help you.


    I’d get the SNB.


    Hi, I’m back!

    I did get a second opinion on the pathology, which came back shallower .6mm. The lesion was on the back of my upper left arm, btw. Female, shallow, no ulceration, on a extremity, I know these are all low-risk variables.

    In the end, though, I did the SNB. It was a very, very difficult decision but the moment I made the call to the nurse to set it up, I felt better, which tells me it was the right thing to do. I had the excision and SNB yesterday. General anesthesia was no fun at all, but the incision pain in minimal and I’m up and moving this evening pretty well.

    The pathology on the node will be in next week and I’ll get the report when I have my follow up appointment with my surgeon. I know the odds are very, very good this hasn’t spread. But even if it has, I will be glad to know so I can get ahead of it as much as I can. All in all, I’m feeling hopeful.

    Thanks for your support. I hope I can help somebody else out with my experience.


    Please update us when you get results! Prayers for negative results! I am sure you are glad to have all that behind you!

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