Your doctor will develop your treatment plan based on the location of your melanoma, how deeply it has penetrated the surface of your skin, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body. Treatment options for melanoma include:
Removes the tumor and surrounding normal tissue. Surgery may be the only treatment necessary for small melanomas that are detected early. When larger tumors are present, surgery may be combined with a lymph node dissection.
Lymph Node Dissection
Lymph nodes are removed when melanoma has spread. Your doctor may perform a sentinel node biopsy, in which the lymph node located closest to the tumor is removed and examined for cancer. If it's cancer free, no additional lymph nodes are removed.
Layers of melanoma are surgically removed and examined under a microscope to ensure all cancer has been removed. Used in select cases of melanoma that are detected early.
Kills or halts the growth of cancerous cells. Chemotherapy is used in select cases of advanced melanoma when surgery is not an option.
If multiple melanomas are confirmed to an arm or leg, our surgical oncologists may perform this surgical procedure, in which high doses of chemotherapy are delivered directly to the affected region while minimizing exposure to the rest of the body. We are a nationally recognized referral center for this type of regional chemotherapy.
This type of therapy is given intravenously to boost the body’s immune system and help it identify and destroy the melanoma. We use a variety of immunotherapies to prevent recurrence, and in advanced melanoma patients who are not candidates for surgery. You may also be able to participate in our clinical trials, which are evaluating whether combinations of these therapies with other medications may extend survival or boost the drugs’ ability to attack melanoma more effectively.
Targets proteins in the BRAF gene, which is linked to nearly half of all melanoma. Changes in the BRAF gene create a protein that causes melanoma to grow and divide. Some of the targeted therapies, such as vemurafenib and dabrafenib, block the BRAF protein. Targeted therapy may also target other genes known to affect melanoma cancer growth. Your tumor’s genetic make-up will determine if you are eligible for these targeted therapies. You may also be eligible to participate in clinical trials investigating recently developed targeted therapies not widely available or FDA-approved.
X-rays destroy cancer cells or shrink tumors. May be used with surgery to prevent cancer from recurring, or to treat cancer that has spread.
Skin Grafting and Reconstructive Surgery
A skin graft from another part of your body is used to cover wounds, promote healing, and restore the skin’s appearance.