Melanoma Brain Lesions

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My sister was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in December 2022 after having what she was told was a cyst removed from her neck but was actually metastatic melanoma. It was named stage 4 as was a bit in her lung and her thigh but brain scan was clear.. She started immunotherapy which she had a few side effects such as colitis and had to be put on steroids but then carried on with treatment which has been working and the bit in her thigh has gone and in the lung reduced.

It was her birthday on Monday (43) and she was all happy and fine, the day after she had headache and was vomiting and was taken to A&E where she had a CT scan and a MRI which showed multiple lesions on the brain and multiple small bleeds on the brain. She’s very weak and tired now. 

I am devastated for her and very scared. She has twin teenage girls age 13 and when diagnosed she said she’d be happy with 10 years as teenage girls need their mum and now this happened so quickly out of no where and I’m wondering when it gets to this point what can be done? She has been so well you wouldn’t even know she had cancer and now this. 

what is the prognosis for someone with multiple brain lesions and is there treatment available?

  • Hi Lovemysis,

    My name is Sharon and I am one of the nurses on the Macmillan Cancer Support Line.

    I am sorry to hear about your sister’s diagnosis. It is only natural for you to feel the way you do, particularly as your sister’s symptoms came on so suddenly, it must feel completely overwhelming.

    Please know that we are here to support you both at this very difficult time. We are here taking calls from 8am till 8pm every day (including weekends) if you or your sister want a chat. We can’t change things for you but will support as best we can.

    Your sister’s consultant is best placed to answer questions about her prognosis and treatment options, as they know your sister’s medical details, medical history and concurrent medical conditions. We can offer you some general information that may help to guide your sister as to questions that she may want to ask.

    Prognosis depends on many factors, including how quickly the cancer is growing, where it is, the type of cancer, your general health, treatment options and whether it is responding to treatment.

    There are several targeted cancer drugs that can be used for advanced melanoma, dependent on the type of cancer that your sister has and treatments already tried. Sometimes chemotherapy is used to help slow down the progression of disease, but it doesn’t work as well against melanoma as it does for some other types of cancer, which is why targeted drugs are usually used as first-line treatments.

    In the meantime, it may be a good idea for her to request a referral to the specialist palliative care team or Macmillan nurses (they have the same role, their name depends what is in your area). Palliative care nurses support GPs with symptom control issues which can be invaluable for someone with brain lesions, where symptoms can be complex to manage until they are treated.

    It must be challenging for your sister having teenage children if she’s feeling weak and tired. She may find our booklet ‘Coping with fatigue’ useful.

    I hope your sister can get a consultation with her consultant very soon, so that she gets a chance to ask questions and find out what treatment options would be available to her.

    You know where we are if you need to talk. As well as our support line, we have webchat, and a carer’s forum on our online community, where you can get support from other people supporting a loved one with a cancer diagnosis. Penny Brohn also have some great support resources for family.

    Kind regards,

    Sharon

    Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email. Ref; SA/SF