Melanoma in the toenail region is surgically removed by making an incision that is wide and deep enough to completely remove the cancerous growth. The excision may remove part or all of the toenail, according to DermNet NZ.
Before doing surgery, the doctor usually performs a biopsy on the affected toe, according to UC San Francisco General Surgery. A sample of the melanoma is removed for medical diagnosis. Sometimes the biopsy removes the entire growth and no further surgery is needed. For serious cases, the doctor informs the patient about the results of the biopsy and recommends a more extensive surgical procedure.
Surgical removal often requires taking off the entire toenail. The doctor uses surgical tools to get rid of as much of the cancerous melanoma growth as possible, with severity of treatment done according to the melanoma's stage of malignancy. There are cases when it is necessary to amputate part of the toe. Amputation is done when the cancer has severely impacted the toe.
Toe melanoma can spread to other areas of the body, in particular, the lymph nodes, skin tissue, brain, lungs and organs. When there is confirmation of it spreading beyond the toe, additional treatment remedies are recommended. Patients may undergo chemotherapy, biological therapy, photodynamic therapy or radiation treatment, according to the National Cancer Institute. In some cases, experimental treatments are tried with patient consent.