While melanoma is a parrticularly aggressive form of cancer it is treatable when caught early. It is also preventable when safefy guidelines are used.
Your doctor will check your skin and look at the size, shape, color, and texture of any suspicious areas.
If your doctor thinks you might have skin cancer, a piece of skin will be removed and sent to a lab for examination under a microscope. This is called a skin biopsy. There are different types of skin biopsies. All or part of the growth will be removed.
A sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy may be done in some people with melanoma to see if the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
Once melanoma has been diagnosed, CT scans or other types of x-ray tests may be done to see if the cancer has spread.
Surgery is needed to treat melanoma. The skin cancer and some surrounding tissue will be removed. How much skin is removed depends on how deep the melanoma has grown.
If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, these lymph nodes may also be removed. After surgery, you may receive a medicine called interferon.
Treatment is more difficult when the melanoma has spread to other organs. When it spreads to other organs, it usually cannot be cured. Treatment involves shrinking the skin cancer and making you as comfortable as possible.
You may receive:
If you have melanoma that is hard to treat, you might consider enrolling in a clinical trial. Ask your doctor for more information. Researchers continue to study new treatments.