Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

 

  1. What are my treatment options?
  2. Why do I need a melanoma specialist?
  3. What is a clinical trial, and why may I want to participate in one?
  4. What side effects can I expect from my treatments?  What steps can I take to manage them?
  5. Will surgery leave a noticeable scar, and if so is there a way to minimize it?
  6. What is my risk of getting melanoma again after treatment?  How can I prevent melanoma from coming back?
  7. How often should I follow up after treatment and what are the symptoms I should look out for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treatment depends on the stage of your cancer, your age, overall health and personal preferences. Most cases of melanoma usually involve surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. For most people with early-stage melanomas, this may be the only treatment necessary. However, patients with more advanced cases may require additional treatments if the cancer has spread, such as:

  •  Chemotherapy:
     Medicines are used to kill cancer cells. It is usually given if the melanoma has returned or spread.

  • Immunotherapy:
     Medications such as interferon or interleukin help your immune system fight the cancer. They may used along with chemotherapy and surgery.

  • Radiation treatments:
    These may be used to relieve pain or discomfort caused by cancer that has spread. Comprehensive state-of-the-art plastic and reconstructive surgery.

  • Surgery:
    Surgery may be done to remove cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. This is done to relieve pain or discomfort associated with the growing cancer.

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A melanoma diagnosis can be overwhelming, but it’s important that you seek the best care possible. A melanoma specialist has extensive experience and knowledge with the disease as well as the familiarity with the latest, advancements available for the treatment of melanoma.

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Find treatment for your specific disease that typical treatment does not address and to help reasearchers to better understand the disease to treat others – family members etc.

If you have melanoma that is hard to treat, participating in a clinical trial may be the best option. People who enroll in clinical trials have a chance to try evolving therapies, and as such, have the opportunity to receive a new, and potentially more effective, therapy. New treatments from clinical trials aid in the progression of curing melanoma and could potentially save lives in the future.

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Side effects depend on the severity of the treatment, and may range from mild to severe. You may feel discomfort in the first few days after the surgical removal of the cancerous tissue, but this can be relieved with medicine and is usually very temporary.
Common side effects include:

  • hair loss
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • mouth sores
  • fatigue
  • Muscle aches

 

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Surgery for melanoma can leave scars, but when a surgeon removes early-stage melanoma the incision is small and will usually fade over time. Scar treatment cream may help minimize scarring, too.

With thicker tumors, the surgeon will need to remove the tumor as well as some surrounding skin and muscle tissue. This may result in a large scar. Skin grafts may be required to cover large wounds and reduce scarring. Ask your surgeon about techniques that can be used to reduce scarring after surgery.

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A previous diagnosis of melanoma increases the risk of getting melanoma again and about 5-10 percent of people with a melanoma will develop it again during their lifetime. Practicing skin healthy habits can help prevent developing melanoma a second time around. Apply sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 30 , avoid peak sun hours from 10-2, and be wary of any medications that may make your skin more sensitive to the sun such as birth control.

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Follow-up management of melanoma after treatment is very important because when second melanomas are found and treated early, the chances for long-term, disease-free survival are excellent. With treatment, patients with reoccurring melanoma have a 5- and 10-year overall survival rate of 100%.  The first sign of melanoma is often a change in the size, shape, or color of an existing mole or the appearance of a new mole. Since the vast majority of primary melanomas are visible on the skin, you have a good chance of detecting the disease in its early stages

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Melanoma & Sarcoma Specialists
of Georgia

980 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 851-6000



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