Treatment Options for Stage II Melanoma
Once your stage of melanoma has been identified, your doctor will discuss a plan of treatment with you.
|Surgery||To remove any cancer remaining after the biopsy. The procedure is called wide local excision. Surgery is the main treatment for Stage II melanoma.
The surgeon removes the rest of the tumor, including the biopsy site, as well as a surgical margin, (a surrounding area of normal-appearing skin), and underlying subcutaneous tissue to make sure the whole tumor has been removed. The width of the margin taken depends upon the thickness of the primary tumor.
Most surgeons today follow the guidelines adopted and recommended by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization Melanoma Program:
Recent advances in surgery allow surgeons to take narrower margins than before, so a much greater amount of normal skin is preserved.
Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy
Sentinel lymph node biopsy is recommended for all Stage II tumors regardless of size.
Sentinel node biopsy is most accurate when it is performed before wide local excision, the surgery to remove the tumor and the surrounding skin.
For patients with Stage IIB or IIC melanoma, adjuvant treatment with medicines may be recommended after sugery.
These medicines are systemic therapies that go through the bloodstream in an effort to reach and destroy any remaining cancer cells throughout the body.
Treatment Side Effects
Clinical trials are research studies to evaluate new therapies and improve cancer care. These studies are responsible for most of the advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. If you have melanoma, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial.
Several experimental treatments are currently being tested in Clinical Trials:
Except for chemotherapy, all of these treatments are designed to boost the immune system. These therapies have not yet been shown to extend overall survival in any randomized, controlled trials for any stage of melanoma, and in some cases may even worsen survival rates. Scientists are constantly working to improve the efficacy of these treatments.