- How is melanoma skin cancer treated?
- Surgery for melanoma skin cancer
- Immunotherapy for melanoma skin cancer
- Targeted therapy for melanoma skin cancer
- Chemotherapy for melanoma skin cancer
- Radiation therapy for melanoma skin cancer
- Clinical trials for melanoma skin cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for melanoma skin cancer
- Treatment of melanoma skin cancer by stage
- More melanoma skin cancer treatment information
How is melanoma skin cancer treated?
General treatment information
Once melanoma has been diagnosed and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. Depending on your situation, you may have different types of doctors on your treatment team. These doctors may include:
- A dermatologist: a doctor who treats diseases of the skin.
- A surgical oncologist (or oncologic surgeon): a doctor who uses surgery to treat cancer.
- A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or targeted therapy.
- A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy.
Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers, and other health professionals.
It is important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your treatment team to help make the decision that best fits your needs. If there is anything you do not understand, ask to have it explained. (See the section “What should you ask your doctor about melanoma skin cancer?” for some questions to ask.)
Based on the stage of the cancer and other factors, your treatment options may include:
Early-stage melanomas can often be treated effectively with surgery alone, but more advanced cancers often require other treatments. Sometimes more than one type of treatment is used.
When time permits, getting a second opinion is often a good idea. It can give you more information and help you feel good about the treatment plan that you choose.
The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for melanoma of the skin. This is followed by a description of the most common treatment options based on the stage of the melanoma.
Last Medical Review: 10/29/2013
Last Revised: 09/05/2014