Wilma is a skin cancer specialist nurse, here to answer your questions about different...
Hello all. I had my biopsy on the 18th and they called me the day after Christmas to say melanoma in situ. I know in situ is good but honestly my head was spinning because I was not expecting to hear melanoma at all. The nurse who called me already had my excision surgery scheduled and she said a lot of big words I cannot remember and didn't understand. This is a little overwhelming. My doctor didn't even call with the results. My excision isn't until January 29th. Why would we wait so long and give this a chance to grow or spread? I'm confused... Is this not as scary as it all initially sounded?
Your melanoma is at a very, very early stage. If left there a long time the iffy cells might have developed into the type that would spread. They haven't been left. They have already been cut out.
The 'wide local incision' (WLE) is to make sure that not even one iffy cell is left. Melanoma is nasty once it spreads, so they don't take any chances and take away all the skin around the melanoma to check that none of the cells escaped, however unlikely that is. They are checking for 'clear margins'.
The waiting is horrid. In an ideal world you would not have to wait a month. Unfortunately, the situation with the NHS is less than ideal and we have to cope with waiting lists for everything except life-threatening conditions.
So it is awful that your dodgy mole was a melanoma but great that was a melanoma in situ, that it is already gone and that you are going to have a 'just to be safe' WLE within a month.
All the best
Like you I was diagnosed with a melanoma in situ at the end of October. It was a real shock to me too. I had my WLE a month after that and now waiting for the pathology results, though I'm expecting the margins to be clear since they already removed the whole mole with the initial excision biopsy. My nurse described the WLE as a belt & braces op. I would have delayed this op by a week or two to fit in around work commitments, though in the end I didn't need to.
I found this leaflet really helpful http://www.bad.org.uk/shared/get-file.ashx?id=2126&itemtype=document
basically an in situ melanoma doesn't have any blood or lymph vessel involvement, so it is literally limited to the epidermis, the very top layer of skin.
I'm hoping to get my results sometime in January.
Good luck with your WLE.
Thank you! Just got home from my WLE a few minutes ago! She took much more than planned but is VERY confident we will get clear margin results. My incision is about 4 inches long, has internal and external stitches and she did have to do a lot of cauterizing- Turns out I'm a bleeder. Keep me posted on your results! I'll be thinking of you and will update when I get my final results.
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