Melanoma Treatments Available According to the Stage of the Condition
Melanoma is a form of cancer that affects the skin. It can also develop in the intestines, eyes and other body parts that contain melanocytes or pigment-containing cells.
Oftentimes, a color, shape, size or texture change in one of the moles on your skin signals that you have developed melanoma. Some of the key changes you need to look out for on your mole include irregular border, abnormal diameter, asymmetric shape, and uneven color.
To confirm if you have melanoma, your physician needs to scrape a thin layer from the affected tissue for lab analysis. Once the doctor knows the stage of your melanoma cancer, he or she can prescribe the appropriate type of treatment.
What are the available treatment options?
Melanoma cancer can be classified into five stages, namely 0, I, II, III, and IV. The stages tell you how far the cancer cells have progressed in the body. For example, in Stage 0, melanocytes have started accumulating on the affected skin tissue, while a Stage 4 melanoma cancer indicates that the cancer cells have metastasized to other pigmented tissues of the body.
Melanoma patients, depending on the current stage of their cancer, can choose from five types of medical treatment, namely chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy and surgery.
A closer look at each treatment
The first type of melanoma treatment is surgery. It involves removing the affected tissue and replacing it with healthier tissue through skin grafting. This treatment option is mostly offered to patients in the initial stage.
Another popular type of treatment is chemotherapy, which involves ingesting drugs that prevent cancer cells from growing and multiplying. However, this treatment may potentially kill even healthy cells in your body.
Radiation therapy, on one hand, uses X-rays to get rid of cancer cells or prevent them from proliferating. This type of therapy can be done externally using a machine or internally via the use of radioactive substances.
If you’re looking for a more holistic approach, you can try immunotherapy. It involves strengthening the immune system to encourage the body to activate its own defense system.
Lastly, you can try targeted therapy, which uses special drugs to target and eliminates cancer cells. Unlike in chemotherapy, this form of treatment provides you with more assurance that only the affected cells will be eliminated. It uses a specific type of inhibitor that blocks signals sent by cancer cells to other cancer cells. It may also involve the use of an on colytic virus that infects and digests the harmful cells.
Early diagnosis is key
Melanoma cancer is a highly prevalent form of cancer. The key to getting a good prognosis is early detection. If you see the signs and symptoms of this disease, you should immediately consult with your physician. See to it that you undergo the required examination to assess the severity of your condition. Also, make sure to clarify any confusing points with your doctor. Ask him or her about the available options and which ones will provide you with the most favorable results.