Treatment of melanoma|
There are treatments for all patients with melanoma. Essentially there are four kinds of treatments are used:
1.surgery (taking out the cancer in an operation)
2.chemotherapy (using drugs to kill cancer cells)
3.radiation therapy (using high-dose x-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells)
4.biological therapy (using your body's immune system to fight cancer).
Surgery is the primary treatment for all stages of melanoma. For example, for early or suspicious moles simple excision at your doctors surgery is all that is necessary. Generally, the greater advancement or stage of melanoma, the more tissue which needs to be removed. However, if the cancer cells have spread, then other means of treatment are necessary. For surgery which requires large amounts of tissue to be removed, skin-grafting may be considered.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be taken by pill, or it may be put into the body by a needle in the vein or muscle. However, chemotherapy has not been shown to be very effective in treating melanoma. Clinical trials are constantly being done to find the most effective chemotherapy drugs with the least side effects
If your doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, you may be given chemotherapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body or from putting materials that produce radiation (radioisotopes) through thin plastic tubes in the area where the cancer cells are found.
Biological therapy tries to get your own body to fight cancer. It uses materials made by your own body or made in a laboratory to boost, direct, or restore your body's natural defenses against disease. Biological treatment is sometimes called biological response modifier (BRM) therapy or immunotherapy. Clinical trials are being done to find biological therapies that are effective.
If you have any questions about treatment of melanoma, you should consult your local doctor.See also: