Hi there, I just wanted to see if anyone has had (what seems to me) unacceptably long wait times between diagnosis of a nodular melanoma (April 1) to excision biopsy and sentinal node biopsy, scheduled (tentatively) for next Wednesday May 18. I have done research and best practice is two weeks from diagnosis to excision. We are going on to 7 weeks. The melanoma was removed during initial biopsy but new spots have grown. We are talking about a Rapid Diagnostic Unit at a renowned hospital. Am I wrong in assuming that this should have been removed weeks ago? So frustrating.
I am getting a bad feeling. Is Covid responsible for these huge delays??
If this is in the wrong section please let me know and I will change it. I am the wife of a beloved husband who I am very scared for.
@Sisu67 Hello and welcome to our caring community….I am sorry to hear of the difficult timelines, you, and your husband are facing for his biopsy (2).
I am not familiar with melanoma……but my humble “2 cents” is….that perhaps the “delay" is caused by the Covid backlog….throughout the medical system, large or small hospital.
However….time to Advocate! Perhaps call the Patient Ombudsman/Nurse Navigator at his hospital….ask for help to lock in a date for him! Send emails too! (Written trail is good to have)….
Wishing you both the best and a biopsy date-soon!
(You posted just fine, where you did….members can read it…and respond shortly)
There are so many variables that determine wait times across the country, even before we throw covid in the mix.
As someone who has had her own cancer along with 3 family members, I totally understand your frustration. I know the waiting only created more anxiety for myself.
We wait for appointments and tests and then wait again for results and followups.
Here is a page from cancer.ca on waiting and wait times:
It never hurts to check in with the office here and there.
Keep us posted as you are able
@Sisu67 while every case is different, I can share our experience. My son’s melanoma was diagnosed by fine needle biopsy of enlarged lymph nodes, he didn’t have a skin presentation for his melanoma, so they knew before his neck surgery that his melanoma was stage 3. The emotional toll of waiting for information is brutal. His surgery took place just over six weeks after he got his biopsy result. This was likely a week delayed because he chose to move to another city to deal with this, since he was a student, and rightly advised he would need support. Then the neck surgeon at his new hospital referred him to another surgeon at another hospital due to the nature of surgery around nerves running through the neck, but fortunately this didn’t change the timing of his surgery.
During this period of waiting for surgery, he had CT scans and a PET scan. These scans suggested he had probably had 3 malignant lymph nodes in his neck (post-op pathology later revealed there were 5) but no spread elsewhere. They planned that his immunotherapy treatment would start about 4 weeks after surgery.
Be reassured that if your husband’s sentinel node surgery does reveal lymph node involvement, these days the immunotherapies and targeted therapies for melanoma have tremendous results, lots of hope. Try to stay off Google, much of the information is outdated. But sites like Melanoma Network of Canada have good, up to date resources for patients and caregivers.
I hope your husband’s surgery goes ahead as planned on the 18th and that things keep moving forward quickly if they do discover lymph node involvement.
Thank you so much for your reply. It actually made my day. I will update as soon as I know more. Thanks again!!
Im so sorry to hear of your husband’s diagnosis and the stress the wait for surgery is surely having on you both.
As a cancer patient and OR nurse, I can say the wait times have exploded due to covid backlog, as well as staffing shortages and lack of OR time. Every single hospital is working to address issues to access care, but can only do so much. Covid exposed the frailties of our health care system, and hospitals are scrambling to adjust.
Having said all that, there is no harm in advocating for your husband now and throughout his treatment plan.
Wishing him successful surgery and a quick recovery.
Yes it did. Thanks for checking in I appreciate it. All went well but of course we won’t know anything concrete for a few weeks. Thanks so much!
@Sisu67 - glad that is one step in the rear view mirror. Now the waiting as you say. While it is easier said than done, distraction is your friend right now. Keep busy doing things you enjoy and spending times with people you enjoy.
We will be here if you want to share your results.
Thank you and I will!