I am new to melanoma. I have one question that I am concerned about. First, I am stage 1a, Breslow of .45 and a Clark level lll. My path report stated that there was radial growth and vertical growth. Should I be concerned with the vertical growth?
Thanks for the answer,Jeff. So, do I have to worry about the vertical growth now or just thank the good Lord it is gone. Also, what about melanoma cells roaming round in my body but being kept at bay by my immune system. Is that true?
If the Mel was removed and they obtained clean margins, (you did have a WLE, right) they you no longer have to worry about the initial lesion.
However, MEL is a very tricky so and so. Residual Mel can be left behind and not be detected. Not trying to scare you by saying this, but the truth is while there are many types of cancers that after x number of years you can be declared "cured"; MEL is not one of them. The residual MEL can come back after 20 years or more. That is why people with MEL are classified as NED, (no evidence of disease) and not cured.
On the bright side, MEL once seen on the skin can easily be removed if taken care of quickly.
There are pros and cons, (good and bad) with everything. I lost a very special Uncle to MEL when I was a young teenager. I have an Aunt that has it now. When I told my 80 year old Father I had it, it really shook him.
My attitude is I am going to live my life as best as I can. And I am determined that I will not go around with a MEL cloud over my head, no matter what happens. Some days that is easier to do then others!
Thank you, Jeff for your thoughtful answer. I don't plan on living with a melanoma cloud. I think the scariest thing for me is the fact that my melanoma did not look like all the pictures. I had been going to the derm every 6 months for the past 2 years dealing with AKs on my face and using Carac (sp) cream to prevent squamous cell carcinoma. Even with my derm looking at that spot, not a mole, this almost got away from us. I also have a family history of melanoma and sadly have passed a high risk factor on to my 2 daughters.
I am living my life to the fullest but still want to learn all I can about melanoma so I can be prepared to battle this beast.
jeff had great info there for ya. this is such a tricky cancer. i waited too long to get a mole checked out and ended up with a wide area excision and axillary to remove lymph nodes under left arm at the same time ( they took a LOT of tissue from both areas and had clean margins). about 2 months later i started a clinical trial and it had to be stopped after 4 weeks due to recurrance in both areas( that darn residual crap that wasnt detected) back into surgery to carve out more!!
i am glad ya caught it early. keep up with check ups and learn how to examine your body, including the lymph node clusters for any lumps.
and as jeff said, iffen ya aint doin it now, live life to the fullest!!
stage 3c melanom diagnosis may 2006
wide area excision and axillary surgery june 2006
clinical trial w/ interferon sept 2006
surgery to primary area and axillary to remove recurrance oct 2006
IL-2 january 2007
surgery to remove 3 tumors on back march 2007
IL-2 june 2006( stopped due to risks outweighed benefits
removal of tumor on upper left arm dec 2007
costotransversectomy( remove part of t-7 vert) june 2008