Murray Ianni

Skin Cancer Patient Stories

Melanoma
Murray Ianni

When Murray Ianni noticed a little bump the size of a dime on his thigh, he didn’t think much of it. Fair skinned, Murray studiously avoids the sun and stays covered up whenever he’s outside. Still, his doctor suggested he see a dermatologist for a biopsy. And with a history of cancer in his family, Murray, who was 71, didn’t want to waste any time.

To his dismay, the Philadelphia native got the frightening phone call from his doctor, who confirmed a diagnosis of melanoma. “The dermatologist suggested that I see Dr. Farma at Fox Chase, and he made the arrangements for me.” Jeffrey M. Farma, MD, FACS, is a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center who specializes in treating patients with melanoma. Murray met with Dr. Farma in October 2010, who recommended surgery as soon as possible.

“Dr. Farma and his entire staff couldn’t have been nicer.”

“Dr. Farma and his entire staff couldn’t have been nicer,” he said.  “He spent a lot of time with me and made everything clear and easy to understand.” Murray was scheduled for surgery just before Thanksgiving. During the procedure, Dr. Farma removed additional lymph nodes to be sure there were no other problems. The margins were good (meaning the tissue surrounding the tumor was clear of cancer) and Murray was relieved to know he’d need no further treatment.

But, as is sometimes the case after a first diagnosis, Murray found himself back in Dr. Farma’s office, in 2011 for suspicious cysts on his pancreas, which turned out to be benign. Later that year, Murray had polyps on his colon, which had to be removed. 

Dr. Farma performed minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery (right hemicolectomy) to remove the pre-malignant polyp on Murray's colon. Murray believed that if he had waited much longer, the polyps would have turned cancerous. In early 2012, Murray’s routine CAT scan revealed a possible mass on his liver, which has not shown up in two subsequent PET Scans. "I am so fortunate that Dr. Farma keeps a close eye on me," said Murray. "If something does show up, I know he'll catch it as early as possible."

All of this testing and potential for cancer has not slowed Murray down a bit.  He’s still traveling, staying active and spending time with friends. He even took a cruise six weeks after he had colon surgery. “I’m very grateful for everything Dr. Farma has done. His entire staff, including all the nurses, are just wonderful. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him to anybody, even though I’d rather see him in a social setting than in his office. But no indeed, this doesn’t slow me down,” he said.