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Melanoma

Treatment

The treatment options for melanoma include:

  • Surgery: Surgery is a preferred treatment option in patients with melanoma. There are several surgical interventions, and the choice depends upon the extent of cancer spread. Some of the interventions are:
  • Mohs Surgery: Mohs surgery involves the removal of one skin layer at a time and evaluating it under the microscope for cancer cells. The skin layer is removed until a layer free of cancer cells is obtained. The procedure takes significant time to complete but has the advantage of less damage to healthy tissues compared to other surgical methods.
  • Wide excision: This procedure is performed under local anesthesia. The procedure is performed during the early stage of melanoma. The procedure involves the removal of the cancer cells through surgery along with the surrounding healthy tissues.
  • Amputation: The patients may also undergo amputation when the melanoma grows deeper into the skin in the organs, such as fingers and toes.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy boosts the efficacy of the immune system in damaging cancer cells. Cancer cells have certain processes that help them avoid the attack of immune system cells. Immunotherapy drugs interfere with these processes and make the cancer cells more vulnerable to getting killed by the immune system.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves delivering the drugs that kill the cancer cells. The drugs are given either through injection or orally. In melanoma, the drug may be delivered through isolated perfusion. In this process, the drug is injected into the body, and the blood is stopped from traveling to the body parts other than the area of melanoma for a small period. As a result, it helps in high drug concentration at the cancer site and low side effects in the body.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may be used in melanoma in various conditions. It is used to kill the cancer cells of the skin. It also helps destroy the cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes. The oncologists may also advise patients for radiation therapy if surgery does not completely remove the melanoma. Further, radiation therapy also assists in relieving the symptoms of advanced melanoma as a part of the palliative care strategy.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted therapy is usually used in advanced melanoma when the conventional treatment options cannot treat or prevent melanoma from progressing. The drugs used during targeted therapy interfere with those processes of cancer cells that are essential for their growth, division, and spread.
  • Metastasectomy: This procedure allows the oncosurgeons to remove the small bits of melanoma cells from organs.
  • Lymphadenectomy: This procedure involves the removal of the lymph nodes. The procedure is performed if cancer spreads to lymph nodes.

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