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The following are treatment options for stage III melanoma. The types of treatments given are based on the unique needs of the person with cancer.
Surgery is the primary treatment for stage III melanoma. The types of surgery are:
Biological therapy may be offered after surgery (adjuvant therapy) for stage III melanomas that have been completely removed with surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. The most common biological therapy used is high-dose interferon alfa-2b (Intron A). It is given by intravenous (IV)intravenous (IV)Within or into a vein (a blood vessel that carries blood from tissues and organs in the body to the heart). infusion and subcutaneous (SC)subcutaneous (SC)Beneath or just under the skin. injection.
Biological therapy may also be used to treat melanoma that cannot be removed with surgery (unresectable). The most common types of biological therapy used include:
Following surgery to remove lymph nodes, people with a high risk of lymph node recurrence may be given adjuvant high-dose radiation therapy to the area where the lymph nodes were removed. This includes people with:
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 completely 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. These drugs are given by mouth. The targeted chemotherapy drugs used to treat advanced or metastatic melanoma are:
People with melanoma may be offered the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. For more information, go to clinical trials.
For more than 50 years, the Canadian Cancer Society’s transportation program has enabled patients to focus their energy on fighting cancer and not on worrying about how they will get to treatment.