How is melanoma treated?
Treatment depends on the stage of the melanoma and health of the patient.
Surgery is generally the main treatment for melanoma. The procedure involves cutting out the cancer and some of the normal skin surrounding it. The amount of healthy skin removed will depend on the size and location of the skin cancer. Typically, surgical excision of melanoma can be performed under local anesthesia in the dermatologist's office.
In the early stages of melanoma, surgery has a high probability of being curative. More advanced cases may require other types of treatment in addition to or instead of surgery. Other treatment options may include lymphadenectomy (removal of surrounding lymph nodes), radiation therapy, immunotherapy (using the patient's immune system to attack the cancer cells), and chemotherapy .
Some patients with skin cancer may participate in a clinical trial. A clinical trial is a research program conducted with patients to evaluate a medical treatment, drug or device.