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Scalp Melanoma

Forums General Melanoma Community Scalp Melanoma

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      I am a 37 year old Male who was just diagnosed with Melanoma on the scalp. I went in to have mole/bump looked at that was very itchy at times. My barber was the one who nudged me to get it checked out. Ironically, that was my first time to the dermatologist. So, the doctor numbed me up and cut off the growth. 3 day later, I got the call! Never thought, as a black man, I’d be faced with Melanoma – I GUESS IT DOESN’T discriminate. :yahoo: … After seeing the oncology surgeon at NYU ( I think thats what he’s called), I am getting a wide excision, skin graft, and some lymph nodes taken out of the side of my neck. NOW – I know I should be concerned about the procedure, but look I’m going to be knocked out. I am more concerned about how much pain will I be after I wake up, they have to take a pretty large hole out of my head. Also What about the isotope injection… anyone had that in their neck? Does it hurt? :negative:


      Tell me you experiences

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          Hi Wil;

          Sorry you are here and have to experience this. Yes melanoma is an equal opportunity pain in the ass. It does affect people with darker skin less, but still pops up. I think better minds than mine will answer some of your questions. My lesion was on my back, not my scalp, so different animals. Mine had already spread, so no lymph node issues. I would say that I would think they would only look at the closest lymph node, not more than that. If your sentinel (closest) lymph node is involved, then further treatment issues come up. When it comes to the scalp, my understanding is that they will involve a skilled surgeon, because they have to “clear your margins” ie, make sure that you don’t have any melanoma lurking around the edges of the mole that they removed. The same reason for checking your lymph node, as that seems to be the most likely place for it to travel. It will be somewhat painful and uncomfortable, but that should pass quickly. My prayer is that you have no cancer cells outside of the mole that was removed! Again, many others much smarter and better versed in the science will chime in, but I wanted to pass on the love and hope.



            Hey Wil,

            Big shout out to your barber!  And to you for acting on his findings rapidly.  Sadly, you are correct.  Melanoma does not play by any rules.  It took the life of Bob Marley, by the way!  I wrote this a while back:

            Sounds like your doc is doing all the right things – Getting a wide local excision.  Finding and removing the sentinel nodes (the ones that light up with the injection of the isotope).  And grafting over the scalp excision as needed.  You will know your stage after the pathology of the lesion and nodes are determined.  As to the injection – I’ve had it done in my hand and it does sting like a mother – for just a bit – and then you’re done.

            You’ve got this!  There are many smart and caring peeps on this forum.  Do not hesitate to reach out again if you have more questions.  Feel free to use the search bubble on my blog if you are needing info on various terms that are thrown at you in the coming days.  I wish you my best.  celeste

                Thanks! 4 injections, and they were unpleasant to say the least. Now we wait! :yahoo:

                  I don’t know if you remember Jake or not, but I just wanted to give one last update. Jake did it all. He had a heavy tumor load for many years but managed a lot of living in his short life. He would be 24 on May 20th. His life since diagnosis was never easy, but man did he do it well!!

                  I am laying by him now in his final hours. He has open and fungated tumors that are huge on his face, head, neck and chest. Jake got a real rough ending. Please pray for peace for him now as he gets to through this last part. We have him home and are doing our best. To this moment Jake has yet to complain…almost 7 years without complaint. My hero forever!
                  Thanks for your constant help here. You were equal help as doctors on many occasions for me. I hope you are well, also our many fighters on their path. What strength they show, may they win their battles🙏🙏

                  With admiration,

                  Kerri-mom of Jake

                    Oh, Kerri.

                    I remember you both!!!  Thanks for your kind words, but the true heroes are folks like you – who care for us in our most painful and difficult times.  And folks like Jake – who show us the light that can shine – even when things are unimaginably dark.  I am so very sorry for your pain and Jake’s incredibly difficult years.  You are both proof that angels walk among us.

                    Love, c

                      Kerri, I and many others on this board remember and know you and Jake very well. How brave he was / you are – the various treatments he went through. I followed you and him closely, his strength through my own uncertainties. I am sure many of us felt close, back on the old board a few years ago, he like others was one of the heroes

                      I wish I had the words to express myself properly, I wish the best for you and Jake through these impossible times


                      I had mel on my ear and had lymph nodes removed from my neck. The injection stung, but didn’t last long at all. My experience was not what I was expecting at all. With all the nerves being moved around I didnt experience any pain at all post operation. Just numbness that has taken almost a year for most of it to go away. I never even took a pain killer despite having a prescription for one. Only took advil for swelling. Hard to forecast, but good luck, the waiting was the most difficult part of the journey for me.
                      Glenn Beck
                        I was diagnosed with Scalp Melanoma this past October (2020).

                        I am a 69 year old North European with very light skin. Surgery removed a circular area of skin around 2″ diameter. A graft from my thigh was used to patch it.

                        I have a dent in my head, since the surgeon took a very thin layer of skin for the patch. One lymph node tested positive, so it was removed at the same time.

                        The surgery was not a big deal as far as discomfort/pain. Never took meds for pain after surgery.

                        A PET scan indicated no ‘hot spots’ anywhere post-surgery.

                        Currently undergoing Opdivo therapy monthly with absolutely no side effects.

                        The only question for me is how much time I am buying with Opdivo.

                        If I can answer any specifics, please let me know.


                            “The only question for me is how much time I am buying with Opdivo.”

                            Hi Glenn, I hope you are buying a good long lifetime with Opdivo, and as someone else said on this forum, you get to die from something else! Celeste, “Bubbles” has lots of good info on the outcomes with ICI and stage 3. Check over your paperwork for a list of biomarkers if that testing was done. Stay as healthy as you can with nutrition and exercise.

                            I found it hard to face my mortality after my diagnosis, despite the fact I engage in other risky choices such as driving a car and living in a polluted world. I could say I am getting use to the uncertainty, but do have to remember our lifespan was always uncertain. Bottom line, I’m so glad we live in the era of ICI and there is more hope down the research pipeline for people who progress.

                            Wishing you the best outcome! Cindy

                            Wil, too bad that you’ve been picked to join us. The scalp doesn’t hold too many nerves. I had two craniotomy, one left me with 24 staples to close, never had any pain after surgery. I was given a prescription of oxytocin and never took one. The tracer injection on your surgery day will be a bit painful, but won’t last more than fifteen seconds. Wishing you the best, I’ll keep you in my prayers.
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                                  :negative: UPDATE!

                                  I had my surgery! Last minute the Surgeon decided ‘not’ to do the lymph node removal!The reason being, is that the melanoma drained to three different left notes! So he decided that it would be too much surgery to take out the lymph nodes when it’s probably not spread. In the end, I’m kind of glad he didn’t. I woke up in so much pain. People said there’s not very many nerve endings in your scalp. Well, that doesn’t seem to Be true for me.


                                  The first couple of days I was in a lot of pain, only gave me Tylenol threes for the pain. Which really didn’t work. :negative:

                                  now we wait.

                                    I am glad to hear it is over. My original melanoma was on my neck. Neck and head melanomas are more likely to meta size to the brain, which is what mine did. What is your follow up plan?

                                    Neck and head wounds hurt like hell but I hate stronger stuff and just endure it with Hugh does Tylenol. All of the movement makes it worse.

                                    keep going to that barber. My dentist has diagnosed mouth cancer twice.

                                    Hey Will,


                                    Happy to hear your surgery was successful and sorry to hear you were in pain afterwards.


                                    I agree with JudiAU, head and neck are more prone to spread to the brain which is the really scary stuff. My husband had a wide excision like you have just had then 2 years later had to have a full neck dissection (removal of all the lymph nodes in an area) and then another 2 years later had the Mets spread to his brain and other areas.  The good news is they have some pretty amazing immunotherapies now and that they have had success using them as adjuvant therapy even when they think you are all clear after surgery. I hope you consider taking these if they are offered to you.


                                    One mistake I feel my husband and I made over the years is not being vigilant enough and advocating more strongly.


                                    I wish you a speedy recovery.


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