Melanoma Treatment Options

Expert Skin Cancer Doctors

The multi-specialty melanoma team at Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center includes expert skin cancer doctors who evaluate and treat patients with melanoma and other types of skin cancers. Melanoma is generally diagnosed through a biopsy (a sample of skin is removed and evaluated in a lab to learn if it is cancerous).

Determining if the Melanoma has Spread

If cancer is detected through a biopsy, the next step is to see if the skin cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Rather than removing all the lymph nodes near the tumor site, Fox Chase surgeons offer a procedure called sentinel node biopsy. In this procedure, only the lymph nodes most likely to contain skin cancer are removed. If no cancer cells are detected in the sentinal lymph node, then the cancer has probably not spread.

Skin cancer doctors at Fox Chase are using the technique for melanoma patients with either intermediate or deep tumors. Those with lymph-node involvement can promptly receive additional therapy to increase their chances for survival.

Early-Stage Melanoma

Patients with early-stage melanoma are usually treated with surgery to remove the cancer. A sentinel node biopsy may be performed as well.

Advanced Disease

Isolated Limb Infusion (ILI)
is a regional technique which involves temporarily isolating the blood supply to an extremity to concentrate chemotherapy treatment there.

If you have recurrent in-transit disease in a limb, including melanoma and sarcoma, this is a minimally invasive procedure for delivering high doses of chemotherapy to treat it.

While the ILI procedure has a good success rate, the skilled team necessary to perform the procedure is rare enough to make it only available at a few centers in the United States.

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Treatment for patients with advanced melanoma (that has spread to other parts of the body) may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, interferon therapy, biologic/immunotherapy and/or innovative therapies using new drugs to fight the disease. Interferon is a protein produced in your body to help fight disease. Clinical trials have proven that interferon also can help stop the growth and spread of cancer cells.

At Fox Chase, your melanoma treatment plan is tailored for you by a team of skin cancer doctors who specialize in melanoma treatment.

Clinical Trials for Melanoma

An array of clinical trials for melanoma are available at Fox Chase Cancer Center, including:

  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group's vaccine and combination therapy melanoma trials.
  • Innovative ongoing targeted therapy trials

A number of clinical studies are available to patients with various stages of melanoma. Some of these studies evaluate several vaccines for treating patients with melanoma. New drug trials also are available to patients who have widespread disease.

[11/19/2013]

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Information from
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on Melanoma