Melanoma Treatment by Stage
Melanoma treatment by stage will depend on the extent of the disease, the patient's age and general health, and other factors. In most cases, treatment consists of some form of surgery and options to relieve symptoms and enhance quality of life. Other options for melanoma treatment by stage include hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion and radiation therapy.
The following are brief descriptions of the treatments most often used for each stage of melanoma.
People with stage 0 melanoma may have minor surgery to remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue.
Melanoma Treatment by Stage: Stage I
People with stage I melanoma may have surgery to remove the tumor. The surgeon may also remove as much as 2 centimeters of tissue around the tumor. To cover the wound, the patient may need skin grafting (a piece of skin taken from part of the body and used to replace lost or damaged skin).
People with stage II or stage III melanoma may also have surgery to remove the tumor. The surgeon might remove as much as 3 centimeters of nearby tissue as well. Skin grafting may be done to cover the wound. Sometimes, the surgeon removes nearby lymph nodes.
People with stage IV melanoma often receive palliative care. The goal of palliative care is to help the patient feel better -- physically and emotionally. This type of treatment is intended to control pain and other symptoms and to relieve the side effects of therapy (such as nausea), rather than to extend life. People with stage IV melanoma may have surgery to remove lymph nodes that contain cancer cells or to remove tumors that have spread to other areas of the body. People with stage IV melanoma may also have radiation therapy for melanoma, biological therapy, or chemotherapy for melanoma to relieve symptoms.