The stage of the melanoma at the time of diagnosis has an important impact on the type of melanoma treatment offered, and how effective that treatment will be. Each stage responds best to slightly different treatments:Stage 0: Surgical removal of the tumor is often sufficient to cure the disease.
Stage I: Surgical removal of the tumor and possible removal of nearby lymph nodes prevent the spread of cancer cells.
Stage II: Removal of the tumor and the lymph nodes is followed by immunotherapy or chemotherapy to kill remaining cancer cells.
Stage III: Treatment is similar to Stage II, with the possible addition of radiation therapy.
Stage IV: Cancer cells have spread to other organs. Surgery is used as palliative care to reduce symptoms and control pain. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy may all be employed to slow the spread of the disease.
Recurrence: Will Cancer Cells Return?
People who have received successful melanoma treatment should perform regular self-examinations to check for new melanoma growths and abnormal moles. As the disease may reappear in organs other than the skin, regular doctor’s examinations are also necessary.
What is Oncology?
Oncology is the branch of medical science that concerns itself with the study and treatment of cancers. A doctor who specializes in oncology is called an oncologist.