Chemotherapy for Melanoma
People undergoing chemotherapy for melanoma can receive it by mouth, by injection, or through a process called isolated limb perfusion. The drugs are generally given in cycles: a treatment period followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, and so on. This type of chemotherapy is generally administered on an outpatient basis (at the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home).
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is sometimes used to treat melanoma. Chemotherapy for melanoma is usually given in cycles -- a treatment period followed by a recovery period, then another treatment period, and so on.
In most cases, people with melanoma will have their chemotherapy as an outpatient (at the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home). However, depending on which drugs are given and on the patient's general health, a short hospital stay may be needed.
Patients may receive chemotherapy for melanoma by mouth or injection, or by isolated limb perfusion.
Mouth or Injection
When receiving melanoma chemotherapy by mouth or injection, the drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.
Isolated Limb Perfusion
In isolated limb perfusion (also called isolated arterial perfusion), chemotherapy drugs are put directly into the bloodstream of that limb (such as an arm or leg). The flow of blood to and from the limb is stopped for a while, which allows most of the drug to reach the tumor directly. Most of the chemotherapy drugs remain in that limb.
In both types of chemotherapy, drugs may be heated before injection. This type of chemotherapy is called hyperthermic perfusion.