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Three Melanomas - Scared to death

I am a 54 year  old, light-skinned female who has not spent alot of time in the sun.  While I was burned a few times as a a teenager, I've used sunblock and have avoided the sun most of my life.  I have been seeing a dermitologist on an annual basis and had a couple of moles biopsied, which came back as 'pre-cancerous' but I was told they were the type that, left on their own, could return as melanoma.  In November 2009, I went for my regular check when tmy doc identified a spot on my rear-end (left cheek) that turned out to be full-blown, invasive melanoma. Luckily, it was .23mm (I think it's mm as opposed to cm), which required an excision of 50 stitches, but that was that. Several months later, they found another melanoma on my upper back that was also removed.  Since tha time, I have gone to my skin cancer doc every three months and haven't had any issues until ten days ago, when they discovered another spot on the middle of my back that they hadn't seen three months earlier.  The punch biopsy revealed fast-growing, .5mm invasive melanoma, and the spot was removed with another 50 stitch surgery. While the first two melanomas didn't get to me, this one has made me frantic.  My lymph nodes feel normal (had them checked by two different docs), so all seems well there. I also understand there were no ulcerations around the melanomas that were removed, which is supposdedly good. I understand it is very rare to have three melanomas in such a close time frame and am scared out of my mind, particularly because the last one grew so fast and furiously.  Can you give me any advice on what else I can do to improve my odds, and tell me what you believe the odds are of surviving such a situation are?  Do you have direct knowledge of other people who have survived similar situations and what did they do to do so? Again, I feel panicked and appreciate any advice or information you can provide.
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1760307 tn?1313521269
Dear peyerl,

Thank you for posting the query,

I understand your concern.

Let me also tell you that so far you have been receiving the best possible treatment available.

There are various types of melanomas and there are various staging systems of the same.

A change in size, shape, color, ulceration, itching at the site are not good signs in melanoma.

Excision surgery is one type of surgery which one can go for .Mohs surgery is another type of surgery which an advanced surgery which can be carried out in melanomas.

The melanoma usually spreads through lymphatics or by blood. So an early lymph node biopsy can be done to see whether it has spread or not. A CT-scan or MRI can also help in early diagnosis.

It is very important to see that one protects himself from direct sun exposure by wearing a good broad band sunscreen having 50 SPF. Along with this one should wear full sleeves clothes and always wear a broad brimmed hat.

It is also said that metastasis to lung and skin has a better prognosis, than to brain ,bone and lever.

In extensive cases chemotherapy and radiation therapy is needed.

Melanomas are more common in Caucasians, especially northern Europeans living in sunny climates, with high rates of incidence in Australia, New Zealand, North America (especially Texas and Florida), Latin America, and Northern Europe.
The 5 year survival rate in melanomas which are less than 1 mm thick will vary from 90-95%.This is assuming that there is no spread to any other tissues.

I would advise you not to get panicky and consult a oncologist too for further advice.

Hope I've answered your query.

Should you have additional concern regarding the same, I would be happy to address it.

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Best Regards,
Dr. Bharat Chawda
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