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How is stage-3 melanoma treated?

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Quick Answer

To treat stage 3 melanoma, the primary tumor must be surgically removed along with any affected lymph nodes, according to the American Cancer Society. The lymph nodes may need radiation therapy afterwards. Any other melanomas must be removed as well.

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Full Answer

If the melanomas cannot be removed, there are several options remaining to treat them, states the American Cancer Society. Radiation therapy is common, as are injections of the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine. Melanomas on an arm or leg can be infused with a heated solution of chemotherapy. However, stage 3 melanoma can be difficult to cure through standard treatments.

In stage 3 melanoma, the tumor is between 2.01 to 4.0 millimeters thick, describes the Skin Cancer Foundation. In stage 3A, the skin over the melanoma is intact, but in stage 3B, it is ulcerated. A tumor is officially stage 3 when it metastasizes, or spreads, determined using a sentinel biopsy or a biopsy undertaken near the tumor. The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes or near them, potentially putting the entire body at risk from the cancer cells carried through the lymph.

To avoid melanoma, sunscreen should be worn whenever exposing the skin to the sun, especially during the middle of the day, according to Mayo Clinic.

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