First some background. Last year I noticed a small lump behind my right ear (there was no mole or discoloration on the surface of the skin), and being a guy of course I ignored it. Finally after about 6 months my wife convinced me to have it looked at. I went to my doctor, and initially the doctor thought it was a cyst, but after it was removed the diagnosis came back as nodular melanoma, with an 8mm depth and ulceration. There were still cancer cells present at the margins, so a few weeks later they extended the excision. After this second surgery there was still cancer present at the margins, so once again they enlarged the excision and left the wound open in case they needed to further extend the area of excision. When pathology came with clear margins they went in to close the wound and try and find the sentinel lymph node. They were unable to locate a suspect lymph node.
At this point I’m considered stage II-C because a lymph node could not be located and therefore I’m told I’m not a candidate for further treatment. I’m presented with two options: 1) Have regular PET examination to see if further tumors develop, or 2) have a full neck dissection to remove all the lymph from the right side of my neck to look for cancer in a lymph node. I don’t like the uncertainty of option 1. I understand that option 2 may not find anything, in which case I’d be in the same position, but at least I’d know. I’m going to meet with my oncologist to decide on which option to follow. I’m leaning toward option 2, but I’d like to hear what other who’ve faced this situation have to say.