Introduction: What is Melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of malignant cancer that begins in the skin. This skin cancer starts in the melanocytes (pigment-forming cells) and is characterised by their rapid and abnormal growth and multiplication. Since melanoma is aggressive, it requires prompt and early treatment. 

 

There are four types of melanoma:

  • Superficial spreading
  • Nodular
  • Lentigo maligna
  • Acral lentiginous

 

Melanoma can spread to other body parts if it is not controlled in its initial stages. The most common symptom of this cancer is an abnormal-looking mole.

How Is Melanoma Treated?

Melanoma is treated by a multidisciplinary team of doctors and healthcare specialists. The standard treatment options for melanoma include:

 

  • Surgery

Surgery is the primary and first-line treatment for melanoma. Melanomas in the upper layers of the skin rarely spread via blood or lymph vessels and can be cured with surgery. 

 

In stages 1 and 2 of melanoma, surgical excision of the lesion is performed, usually under local anaesthesia. Lymph node biopsy may be required if cancer has spread to nearby areas. In advanced stage 3 melanoma, extensive surgery with skin graft and lymph node excision may be performed.

 

While advanced stage 4 melanomas were earlier considered aggressive and challenging to treat, newer treatments like targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy have shown positive outcomes.

 

  • Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a biological therapy that uses drugs to stimulate an individual’s immune system to identify and attack cancer cells. This treatment is used to treat stage 4 melanomas and in some stage 3 cases as part of a clinical trial. Your doctor will determine the most suitable immunotherapy drugs for your melanoma.

 

Immunotherapy may also be recommended in people previously treated for melanoma or who have untreated advanced melanoma that has spread and cannot be treated with surgery. Immunotherapy drugs may be given short-term or long-term, depending upon the individual’s case.

 

  • Targeted drug therapy

Targeted drug therapy effectively treats individuals with BRAF gene mutation that causes melanoma cells to grow and multiply rapidly. One in every two people with melanoma may have this gene mutation. Discuss with your doctor if you are a candidate for targeted drug therapy for melanoma.

 

Radiation therapy is often used after a lymph node removal surgery or to relieve symptoms in advanced melanoma cases. Your doctor will use controlled doses of radiation to kill the actively-dividing cancer cells. Chemotherapy is rarely used in melanoma treatment today as it has been replaced by more effective and promising treatments like targeted drug therapy and immunotherapy.

 

Melanoma treatments may cause side effects. Your doctor and healthcare team will discuss the expected side effects of each treatment with you. Speak to your doctor about a second opinion if you have any queries about your diagnosis or treatment plan.

How Can Klarity Oncology Help?

Getting diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatment for it is an intensive process that may be overwhelming for most people. We get you! At Klarity Oncology, our caring cancer care team supports you throughout your journey by connecting you to the best oncologists in the UK, getting priority appointments with consultants for second opinions, keeping you informed about your appointments and more! We help you keep track of your health and make informed decisions about your melanoma treatment plan.

 

Melanoma Treatment Cost in the UK

Melanoma diagnosis and treatment cost in the UK is affordable across the country. The treatment approach for this type of cancer is usually bottom-up, and the prices are generally lower for early-stage melanomas than for advanced stages. 

 

The treatment cost for melanoma is also relatively affordable in public and government setups than in private hospitals. If your health insurance covers cancer care, your melanoma treatment cost will be even more affordable. 

How is Melanoma Treatment Cost Calculated?

Melanoma affects everyone differently, and so treatment costs vary for each individual. Your melanoma treatment cost is calculated based on the following factors:

  • Type and stage of melanoma
  • Location, grade and spread of cancer
  • Diagnostic and follow-up test results
  • Medications
  • Private vs public centre 
  • Travel expenses
  • Hospital stay
  • Surgery and biopsy costs
  • Management of side effects during treatment
  • Participation in clinical trials
  • Insurance coverage

 

The cost provided to you before treatment is usually a rough estimate. You must understand that your melanoma treatment cost may vary as your treatment progresses or if your cancer returns. 

Talk to Us

If you need help getting an appointment with UK’s top oncologists or seeking a second opinion for your melanoma treatment, reach out to us at Klarity Oncology today!

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