Skin Cancers are of three types: basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. Melanoma is the most aggressive and dangerous type. It develops from the pigment-containing cells called melanocytes. In women they are most commonly seen on the legs and in men on the back.The main treatment for melanoma that hasn’t spread is surgery. If melanoma has spread, the main treatments include immunotherapy, biological therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Get verified second opinions from OncoConnect’s curated list of international Oncologists.
Skin cancers are cancers that arise form the skin. There are three types of skin cancers: basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer and melanoma.
Melanoma is the most aggressive and dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells called melanocytes. In women they are most commonly seen on the legs and in men on the back.
Symptoms of melanoma are a mole that is either:
- getting bigger
- changing shape (i.e. particularly getting an irregular edge)
- changing colour (i.e. getting darker)
- becoming patchy or multi shaded
- has a loss of symmetry (i.e. two halves of your mole do not look the same)
- becoming crusty
- looking inflammed
Other symptoms include itchiness, bleeding or skin breakdown. Moles with 3 or more different shades of brown or black are particularly likely to be melanoma.
The primary cause of melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) in those with low levels of skin pigment. Other risk factors include family history of skin cancer, poor immune system and rare genetic defects like xeroderma pigmentosm. Use of sunscreen and avoiding UV light may prevent melanoma.
Once melanoma has been diagnosed, doctors will determine the stage of cancer and whether or not it is metastatic; based on which doctors would be able to devise a treatment plan. The main treatment for melanoma that hasn’t spread is surgery. If melanoma has spread, the main treatments include immunotherapy, biological therapy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
To know more about melanoma you can refer to our Melanoma Guide
No major professional organisations currently recommend any routine screening of the general public for melanoma.
Dr Bharat Chauhan
Consultant Medical Oncologist
Dr Shirin Zaheri
COMPARE PRICING FOR - Melanoma
Surgery: It is the main treatment for melanoma. You may have surgery either to:
- remove an early stage melanoma
- remove the lymph node close to it, if the cancer has spread
- remove melanoma that has come back in the same place following an operation
- remove melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body
Chemotherapy: This is given by administrating drugs intravenously (IV), intra-arterially (IA) or via intra – peritoneal (IP) injections to destroy cancer cells. This treatment can last up to many weeks.
Radiotherapy: This is performed by directing radiation beams at the targeted area, and like chemotherapy this treatment usually requires multiple sessions which are performed over a series of weeks.
Immunotherapy: This is the use of medicines to stimulate a person’s own immune system to recognise and Destry cancer cells more effectively.
Biological Therapy: Cancer vaccines are a type of biological therapy. These are treatments that use natural body substances, or drugs that block them, to treat cancer. Vaccine treatment is not widely available because it is still being tested. You can usually only have it as a part of a clinical trail.
Treatments are often used in combination with each other, particularly is the cancer is advanced and surgery is being performed. Chemotherapy may often be used before surgery to shrink the tumour or after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that could not be removed during surgery.
You may experience vomiting, nausea, hair loss, fatigue & body pain during treatment. Please do not hesitate to discuss this further with your doctor, for more information on the management of any symptoms.
- Most patients require a post – surgical recovery period of up to 4- 6 weeks. Speak to your surgeon to understand the amount of recovery you would need following your treatment.
- Appropriate rest is also important during this period.
- If there is pain and discomfort then please speak to your doctor for its management.
length of stay
Hospital Stay: 3-7 days for surgery
Total Stay: Depending upon treatment the length of stay can wary from 2 weeks to a few months