If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with melanoma, you may wonder what treatments are available. There can be new words you have not heard before, so we’ve gathered together information to help you navigate the new vocabulary or treatments you may be hearing about.
Current treatment options
The treatment recommended for you will be based on your diagnosis and the stage of your melanoma and will be discussed with you by your healthcare provider.
Current treatments for melanoma include surgery, radiotherapy and immunotherapy. These therapies may be used alone or in combination.
Despite the historical lack of effective therapies, scientists have made remarkable progress in identifying new treatments which can slow down progression and may result in remission of melanoma.
Surgery is performed in many cases, but there are several groups of drugs which can target your melanoma or stimulate your own immune system to fight your cancer.
If you have a thin melanoma, surgery may be all that is necessary, but if your melanoma is thicker, treatment options will be discussed with you and within a multidisciplinary team. This team includes a core membership of surgeons/ plastic surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and clinical nurse specialists.
Drug treatments are not always funded in New Zealand. Your health care provider will discuss your treatment options with you to ensure you know all options, and those that are recommended in relation to your stage of melanoma.
I had surgery last year to remove the melanoma and am shortly to have a second surgery as there were a few cancer cells close to the margins. However, I’ve been told my cancer has been caught early, and my chances of making a full recovery are excellent.