How Is Melanoma Treated by a Doctor?


Quick Answer

Medical treatments for melanoma depend on its stage and include removal of the abnormal cells or tumor and some normal tissue surrounding it. When appropriate, treatment extends to the removal of surrounding lymph nodes and the administration of drugs such as interferon to fight recurrence of the cancer, notes the National Cancer Institute.

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Full Answer

At Stage 0, the melanoma consists of an isolated growth on the skin. In this case, the doctor surgically removes the growth as well as some of the healthy tissue surrounding it. If the cancer has progressed to Stage I, which involves the lymph nodes, removal of affected nodes is part of the treatment as well, as stated by the National Cancer Institute.

Stage II treatment methods expand on the treatments for Stage 0 and I. After surgical removal of the growth, the doctor may recommend biologic therapy using interferon to keep the cancer from returning. Stage III melanoma that can be surgically removed may require skin grafting to cover the wound, according to the National Cancer Institute.

If the Stage III melanoma cannot be surgically removed or the case has moved to Stage IV, the doctor may target the cancer with dabrafenib or vemurafenib. Chemotherapy, palliative therapy for the improvement of quality of life and clinical trials for experimental treatments are all possible options as well, notes the National Cancer Institute.

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