Treatment for melanoma
Most melanoma is treated with one or more of the following:
Surgery is usually the main treatment for melanoma.
- Wide excision surgery, removing additional tissue around the cancer is used for melanomas that are thicker.
- Sentinel lymph node mapping is used during surgery to check if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes. The surgeon injecting substance known as a tracer near the tumor to find the sentinel lymph node or nodes. These are the nodes the cancer is most likely to spread to first.
- If cancer is found, the lymph nodes in that area will be removed.
- If cancer is not found, the rest of the lymph nodes are left in place.
Depending on the size and location of the melanoma, surgery may require only a local numbing medicine or general anesthesia.
After surgery, radiation therapy may be used to decrease the risk of cancer returning. Radiation therapy may also be used to relieve symptoms if cancer has spread to multiple parts of the body, especially the brain or bones. Different types of radiation therapy are used for different situations.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to help kill cancer cells. These drugs can be injected into a vein or taken orally. Chemotherapy may be used to treat advanced melanomas that returned after treatment with immunotherapy or targeted therapy.