Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that tends to spread to other parts of the body. One of the most common signs and symptoms of melanoma are changes in an existing mole or the appearance of a new mole. Most melanomas are irregularly-shaped and are made up of more than one colour.
There are different types of melanoma:
Melanoma occurs when the skin cells begin to develop abnormally. Though the exact cause of melanomas is unknown, exposure to sun UV rays is said to be the primary risk factor. Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK; around 16,000 people are diagnosed yearly. When detected and treated early, melanomas can be cured.
When is Surgery Performed for Melanoma?
Surgery is the primary treatment for melanoma and is recommended under the following conditions:
Recurrent melanoma in the same area requires a wide local excision to remove it.
When diagnosed in the early stages, surgery is usually successful in treating melanoma. If the melanoma is undiagnosed till the advanced stages, surgery may be helpful to stop the spread of cancer and reduce symptoms. You may require targeted drug therapy or immunotherapy with surgery in these advanced stages.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Melanoma Surgery?
Most people with melanoma undergo surgery. However, other treatment options may be suggested if you are unfit for surgery. Since melanoma surgeries can be extensive and cause the removal of an excessive amount of skin, a skin graft or flap procedure may be performed.
Melanoma Surgery Cost in the UK
Melanoma surgery costs are comparable to other cancer surgeries in the UK and depend upon multiple factors, including the type of melanoma, its stage, the extent of surgery and the duration of hospital stay.
Your overall treatment costs may increase if you require additional treatments like radiation therapy after surgery. The cost of melanoma surgery is higher for people without health insurance.
Other Treatments for Melanoma
Though surgery is the first line of treatment for melanoma, other treatment options that are used include:
This treatment is used in melanoma for shrinking the size of advanced melanomas or for symptomatic control or relief. External radiation therapy is given in these cases, preferably in a hospital setting. Radiation treatment may cause side effects. Since radiation therapy does not prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body, your doctor will evaluate the benefits vs risks before recommending this treatment for you.
Targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy use specialised drugs that target cancer cells without harming healthy surrounding cells. You may have targeted drug therapy or immunotherapy for some stage 3 melanomas to reduce their risk of returning.
Other scenarios where you may have these treatments are:
Advanced stages of melanoma are curable, but a combination of chemotherapy, targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy can relieve your symptoms and prolong life.
A large majority of melanomas return, and so you will require regular check-ups to monitor your health.
Talk to Us
A melanoma diagnosis can be scary, but you should make informed decisions about your treatment options. If you need more information about your melanoma, reach out to Klarity today for a second opinion!