Melanoma is one of the rarest yet dangerous forms of skin cancer. It affects the melanocytes which are responsible for producing melanin (skin pigment). Melanomas develop into growths or tumors resembling moles and can form anywhere on the body. Metastatic melanoma is the condition in which cancer spreads from the tumor to other parts of the body. It is often known as stage 4 melanoma. More than often, melanoma becomes metastatic if it is not detected early.
Treatment of metastatic melanoma
The main treatment involves removal of the tumor and cancer cells with an excision surgery. However, it is important to note that surgery can treat melanoma that has not spread to other parts. If in case cancer has spread to other parts and has metastasized, other treatments may be needed.
Treatments for metastatic melanoma is difficult, but several clinical trials are underway which may find ways better methods to treat it.
The doctor may recommend immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation as treatment of metastatic melanoma.
You may have to undergo lymph node dissection to remove the affected areas in case cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Also, to prevent cancer from spreading post the surgery, the doctor may prescribe interferon.
If you have been looking for melanoma treatment centers in the US, here is a short list that may help you:
- University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston
- The Angeles Clinic & Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA
- Memorial Sloan Kettering
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA
- Johns Hopkins, Baltimore
- Cancer Treatment Centers for America- They have hospitals in major cities like Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tulsa, Atlanta, Chicago, and Phoenix.
- The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Scottsdale, AZ
Although metastatic melanoma is much harder to treat, melanoma, in general, is curable if it is detected at an early stage. Also, if you have had melanoma or metastatic melanoma in the past, you will have to make sure to visit your doctor regularly for follow-ups. Please note that metastatic melanoma can recur and affect any other part of your body. It is best to consult your doctor and follow the prescription religiously.