The following are treatment options for recurrent melanoma. Melanoma may recur in the same location as the original cancer (local recurrence) or it may recur in another part of the body (metastatic melanoma).
Local recurrence can occur in the original site of the melanoma, such as in the scar from the excision. A recurrence may also occur as a satellite (metastasis found within 2 cm of the original site or scar) or in-transit metastasis (skin or subcutaneous tissue involvement more than 2 cm from the original site or scar).
The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.
Surgery may be used to treat recurrent melanoma.
Chemotherapy may be used to treat recurrent melanoma that cannot be removed with surgery (unresectable). While it cannot cure the cancer, chemotherapy can be used to control the growth and spread of the cancer. It may also help to extend life and relieve symptoms (palliative chemotherapy) of advanced disease. The most common types of chemotherapy used are:
Regional chemotherapy may be used to treat people with local nodal metastases, in-transit metastases or multiple recurrences on an arm or leg that cannot be removed with surgery. The chemotherapy drug most commonly used for regional chemotherapy is melphalan (Alkeran, L-PAM).
Regional chemotherapy may involve:
Targeted therapy may be offered to people with unresectable metastatic melanoma. Most of these drugs are given by mouth. The targeted chemotherapy drugs used to treat advanced or metastatic melanoma are:
Biological therapy may be offered to people with unresectable metastatic melanoma. Biological therapies that may be used include:
External beam radiation therapy may be used to treat melanoma that recurs in either the skin or lymph nodes after surgery. It may also be used to treat distant spread and control symptoms of advanced cancer. Stereotactic radiation therapy may be used for a single unresectable brain metastasis.
People with melanoma may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.
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