Metastatic malignant melanoma – types of treatment

Metastatic malignant melanoma is difficult to treat. Having said that, you still have options. Choosing a treatment depends on the severity of the spread of cancer, and the overall health of the individual. The goals of the treatment then are to shrink or stop the growth of the disease where it has spread thereby stopping it from spreading to new areas.

The most common types of treatment are radiation and chemotherapy. There are newer treatments that are being developed that are actually a combination of two different kinds of treatment. There are also newer drugs being developed that have less painful side effects and are intended to comfort the patient.

Some of the treatment options include
Surgery
Depending on the severity of the malignancy, the doctor might remove the complete organ that is the epicenter of the cancer. This will help the patient live longer with fewer symptoms.

Chemotherapy
One of the oldest methods of treating cancer, chemotherapy uses certain types of drugs that are given to the patient via injections, intravenous, intra-arterial, and tropically (a cream that you can rub on your skin).

What chemotherapy does is, it stops or slows down the growth of the cancer cells that are dividing quickly. The side-effects of chemotherapy are that healthy cells are collateral damage in the treatment. It damages the healthy cells with cancer infected cells. This results in decreased health, other health issues, hair loss, etc. However, the symptoms go away after chemotherapy is over.

Radiotherapy
Radiation therapy uses high intensity X-rays that destroy cancer cells and shrinks the tumor that is cancerous. The radiation damages the genetic material of the cancer by literally burning down the cancerous cells. Normal cells repair themselves while cancerous cells cannot. Side effect of radiotherapy is that it burns the area of the skin where the high intensity beam is incident.

Radiotherapy is given in two ways. External radiation therapy, which is the most common form of radio therapy. Internal radiotherapy, also known as brachytherapy is normally given to those cancer patients who have cancer spread in the genital area. Radioactive materials are placed into the vagina or the prostate of such patients and are usually sealed inside with needles, seeds, wires, or even catheters.

Immunotherapy
One of the recently developed therapies, immunotherapy attacks the cancer by simply boosting the immune system. It is done intravenously or through high shot of doses. Since it boosts immune system through drugs, it can cause some serious side effects but it can also shrink the metastatic malignant melanomas and help people live longer with very fewer symptoms.

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