Melanoma is the most serious kind of skin cancer and requires immediate treatment. The right treatment for you depends on the stage of the melanoma when you are diagnosed. Your dermatologist can explain your options for skin cancer treatment in Arlington Heights and help you make a care plan that is right for you. Here is a look at some of the most common melanoma treatments.
Wide Excision Surgery
During wide excision surgery, the melanoma itself plus up to two centimeters of healthy skin around it are removed. After the excision, your dermatologist will test the edges of the removed skin to make sure it is free of cancer cells. If cancer is present, a wider area of the skin may be removed until no cancer cells are on the edges. Doctors are conservative about the amount of potentially healthy skin removed in each excision because large incisions are slower to heal.
Interferons are proteins that occur naturally in your body and are created by your immune system. With interferon therapy, you receive an infusion of these proteins to encourage your immune system to reduce the growth of cancer cells. Interferon therapy does not itself kill cancer, but when used with other melanoma treatments, like wide excision surgery, it can discourage further cancer growth.
Targeted therapy works similar to chemotherapy, but it usually has fewer side effects. It involves the use of newly developed drugs that specifically target melanoma cells instead of killing any cell that divides quickly, as chemotherapy does. These drugs target cells based on specific genetic mutations associated with melanomas. Targeted therapy may be used in combination with other treatments and is usually reserved for later-stage melanoma.
Your dermatologist at Arlington Dermatology can diagnose and treat all kinds of carcinomas, including melanoma. See your doctor right away if you experience any suspicious skin changes. To make an appointment, please call 847-392-5440.