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I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

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I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by jasell on Mon Apr 02, 2018 08:57 PM

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I'm very worried about this diagnosis. I know I have to go in and get it excised and then have a SLN biopsy performed. I'm really worried and don't know what to tell my children. I was told the margins for the depth were clear but that the borders were not.

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by tschfam on Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:56 PM

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I had a skin graft on my face for melanoma (+ SLN biopsy — which you may want to get a second opinion on — I don’t think they are really indicated any more). Anyway, it was fine. Depending on where it’s located, you might not need a graft.

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by jasell on Fri Apr 06, 2018 06:19 PM

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Thank you for the response! How big was your melanoma? Did your SLN come back negative? Was your melanoma ulcerated (mine is not).

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by tschfam on Fri Apr 06, 2018 07:53 PM

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Well, I had a couple on my neck that were just wide  local excision (in situ melanoma).  The one on my face (right temple) was a really rare kind called desmoplastic melanoma.  Doesn't tend to kill you, but does tend to recur.  Anyway, it was actually a very large area (2,5" by 1.5") and the graft came from my collar bone area.  I did have an SNL biopsy, which was contoversial in the literature at the time (most experts didnt think it was worth it) and I'm  not sure it's still done.  Three lymph nodes and all three were negative. It's been 5 years now and the graft looks decent.  Have to see a derm every six months, and wear crazy-serious sunblock . .   . But otherwise it's ok.

Btw, I was treated at a,cancer center with a melanoma department.

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by jasell on Fri Apr 06, 2018 08:09 PM

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Thank you! Similar in size to mine (a bit bigger), which gives me hope. I’m also being treated at a melanoma cancer clinic. SLN is standard if it’s over 1mm here. So that’s me. Congratulations on being 5 years out...looking forward to saying the same.

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by barjaffe on Fri Apr 06, 2018 08:25 PM

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My melanoma was on my cheek, about 2mm also, found 5 years ago.  Clear margins, probably in situ, but I went with the SLN anyway, because my career was in cancer research and I was hyper-worried (well, really hypochondriacal).  The procedure is fairly simple, and I wanted to have them take a look at the two closest lymph nodes then and there, because I didn't want to worry over the next several years about its possible spread.  All clear, and I have not had that worry because I had it done.  Re telling your kids, my advice is wait until you get your results from the SLN. 

 

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by jasell on Sat Apr 07, 2018 01:39 AM

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thank you so much for your response! It really does ease my mind and prepare me a bit better.  Do you remember if your melanoma was ulcerated...it doesn't sound like it. Thankfully, mine isn't. SLN is standard procedure at my hospital, so that is what I will do.  I agree completely that it helps answer any question of spread. 

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by jasell on Sat May 12, 2018 03:49 PM

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Hello! I was hoping the two of you (or anyone!) might be able to help me one more time! I had my wide excision and my SLN and all was good.  All three lymph nodes that were biopsied came back clear. My question is this, did anyone every worry that even though they received all clear on their lymph node biopsies that it had possibly spread through their blood system?  What are your thoughts.

RE: I just found out I have a 2mm melanoma on my face

by tschfam on Sat May 12, 2018 04:44 PM

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Glad to hear that it went well!! Now go out and buy ALL the sunscreen!  I don't particularly worry about whether the cancer "jumped" my lymph nodes or not.  If it did, it did.  Remember, the primary site for something like 40% of melanomas is NOT your skin.  In some people, maybe a lot of people, there seem to be melanocytes just floating around.  Now, in my case, as part of the x-ray they did to locate the SNLs, they picked up a pretty tiny nodule at the tip of my lung.  Too small for a regular x-ray to see.  So, I had a lung CT and they found 3-4 more, again tiny.  The melanoma people were all "gaaahhh!" but cooler heads pointed out that I am 100% Midwestern and therefore "breathed a lot of poop" coming up.  Long story short, I had to have 2 years of lung cts at 6 month intervals.  Nothing ever changed, so they assume it is indeed poop (and not cancer) related.  Check with your doc about what additional (If any) scans or checks you might need.  The are still following my lung thingys but at 1.5 to 2 year intervals.

There is other information out there about recurrance and survival rates related to other pathology factors (Clark's level, Breslow depth are two that come to mind. Mitotic rate might only apply to desmoplastic melanoma) that if the conversation won't freak you out too much, you should have with your doctor.  I know i was pretty overwhelmed at first, but eventually got the information i needed.  Note that there are websites out there that are focused on melanoma only that you might want to check out.

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