Melanoma Skin Cancer Treatment For Humans
Melanoma Skin Cancer Treatment is highly dependent on the individual condition to be treated, the type of cancer and also the stage of cancer it suffers. The main handling of melanoma is through surgery.
Stage of Melanoma Skin Cancer
This type of melanoma treatment depends on the stage of melanoma you are suffering from. The stage system is used by professional medical personnel to explain how far the development and spread of melanoma both within the skin and to other organs. The sequence of melanoma stages is described as below:
- Stage 0: melanoma is on the skin surface.
- Stage 1A: melanoma thickness less than 1 mm.
- Stage 1B: melanoma thickness 1-2 mm or less than 1 mm but with damage or injury to the skin surface.
- Stage 2A: the thickness of melanoma 2-4 mm or 1-2 mm but with damage or injury to the skin surface.
- Stage 2B: Melanoma thickness of more than 4 mm or 2-4 mm with damaged skin surface.
- Stage 2C: thickness of melanoma more than 4 mm and skin surface damaged.
- Stage 3A: melanoma has spread to one to three closest lymph nodes, but the nodes do not swell. At this stage there is no skin damage and has not spread further.
- Stage 3B: The skin surface of melanoma has been naturally damaged and melanoma has spread to one to three lymph nodes, but not enlarged. Or, the skin surface of melanoma is not damaged and spread to one to three lymph nodes and the node is enlarged. Or melanoma has spread to small areas of skin or lymphatic channels, but not to the lymph nodes.
- Stage 3C: melanoma skin surface damaged and has spread to one to three lymph nodes and enlarged. Or melanoma spread to four or more lymph nodes.
- Stage 4: Melanoma cells have spread to other areas of the body such as the lungs, brain, and other parts of the skin.
The following is the handling of melanoma adjusted for its severity:
Stage 1 Skin Cancer Melanoma
To deal with melanoma stage 1, the plastic surgeon will perform surgery to remove melanoma cells and a small skin in the surrounding area.
Sometimes in the process of surgery, for some cases melanoma will be total anesthesia, so you will fall asleep or unconscious. But surgery for stage 1 melanoma is generally done by means of local anesthesia. You will remain conscious, but the area around melanoma will be numb and you will not feel pain.
If surgical operation leaves a marked scar, you can choose a joint surgery to transplant the skin. Skin transplantation means taking part of the skin from other parts of the body, to be grafted or attached to the operated area.
The likelihood for melanoma stage 1 that has been removed will be very small, so it is usually not necessary follow-up treatment after surgery.
Stage 2 and 3 Skin Cancer Melanoma
Handling performed the same as in stage 1, the area infected with melanoma will be removed and if necessary grafting skin surgery. If melanoma has spread to the nearest lymph node, you may need further surgery to remove it. Total anesthesia should be performed for this surgery.
The lymph node removal process poses a risk to your lymphatic system disorders. The effect can cause fluid accumulation in the body. In medical terms it is known as lymphedema. You are advised to continue consulting your doctor about the recovery process and be wary of signs of melanoma going back.
Stage 4 Skin Cancer Melanoma
Melanoma stage 4 as the worst stage can be divided into two conditions:
- Melanoma has spread to other body parts (metastasis) when first diagnosed.
- Melanoma reappears in other parts of your body after previous treatment.
In the two conditions above, most likely can not be cured. Handling is done only to slow the spread of cancer, reduce symptoms experienced, and extend the life of the patient.
Surgical surgery may be possible in melanomas that appear far from where the first melanoma cells appear. Meanwhile, to reduce the effects of symptoms that occur, some of the treatment that can be done is radiotherapy and consumption of drugs.
Treatment and treatment usually have side effects that can affect the quality of your life. If treatment results do not add much to your age or you do not feel any symptoms that cause pain or discomfort, you may be refusing to perform all existing cancer treatments.
If you decide not to receive treatment, special painkillers and nurses may be available if you need them. This is a type of palliative care. All the decisions are yours.
To remove the lymph nodes after surgery and to relieve the symptoms of high-grade melanoma, radiotherapy treatment can be done. Radiotherapy implements controlled dose radiation to kill cancer cells. This procedure is performed in the hospital in several daily sessions for 10-15 minutes, with the weekend left to rest.
Side effects of radiotherapy include fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, and skin rashes. Consult the side effects experienced by your doctor. Doctors can provide medicines to prevent or control these side effects. These side effects will diminish little by little as the sessions are followed.
Drugs For Melanoma
Handling melanoma that has spread to other body parts is to use chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is generally done to reduce the pain of symptoms caused by melanoma at high stage. Chemotherapy uses the use of anti-cancer drugs or cytotoxins to kill cancer.
Some drugs can be used to treat melanoma. The specialist will discuss the drugs with you. There are different types of chemotherapy drugs, and can sometimes be combined. The most commonly used to treat melanoma is dacarbazine and temozolomide.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy do not need to stay in the hospital. Chemotherapy is given once in three or four weeks. The time lag given aims to have your body have time to recover. Dacarbazine is given by infusion and temozolomide is given in tablet form.
Chemotherapy has several side effects caused by the effect of the drug on body resistance. Most side effects can be prevented or controlled with medications prescribed by your doctor. Side effects of chemotherapy include infection, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and thrush.
Immunotherapy Implementation uses medicines that have been derived from elements present in the blood naturally. This treatment aims to encourage the immune system to fight melanoma. The two drugs commonly used for melanoma are interferon-alfa and interleukin-2. Both of these drugs are administered by injection into a vein, under the skin, or into a melanoma clot. Side effects that often occur from the use of immunotherapy resembles symptoms of flu, such as fever, joint pain, and fatigue.
- Monoclonal antibodies
The human body produces antibodies that control infection. In addition to the body, there are also antibodies that can be produced in the laboratory, which is named monoclonal antibodies.
Patients will be given artificial antibodies in certain doses. Then the antibodies will recognize tumor cells and destroy them.