Visiting the Dermatologist: A Blog

What Procedures Are Part Of Melanoma Cancer Treatment?

When it comes to skin cancer, all forms are dangerous. However, melanoma may be the most dangerous type of all. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, melanoma is the most fatal type of skin cancer. Fortunately, early detection can help you get the treatment you need to make a full recovery. Self-examination will allow you to find any suspicious lesions to show your dermatologist. Here are some of the procedures you might experience during your melanoma cancer treatment

1. Biopsy

A biopsy will be used to make your initial melanoma diagnosis. It can help your doctor tell benign moles and tumors from cancerous ones. A biopsy can also help your doctor figure out if your cancer has metastasized, which means whether it has spread to other parts of your body. Your doctor may want to biopsy the lymph nodes located closest to the site of your skin cancer. If they find cancerous cells in your lymph nodes, they will know your cancer has metastasized and will proceed with treatment accordingly.

2. Mohs Surgery

There are a few different techniques used to remove skin cancer from the body, but Mohs surgery is among the most effective. During Mohs surgery, your doctor will numb you using local anesthetic. Once you're numb, your doctor will begin to cut away pieces of your skin cancer in thin layers. After each layer is removed, it will be analyzed under a microscope. This process will be repeated until your doctor sees nothing but healthy skin cells, which means they've removed all of the cancer. Mohs surgery allows your doctor to excise skin cancer without cutting away too much healthy tissue.

3. Chemotherapy

If your melanoma has spread beyond your skin, your doctor will need to use other types of treatment to get rid of it. Chemotherapy drugs kill cancerous cells that can't be reached through other means. If you need chemotherapy, it will be administered in a special treatment facility through the use of an IV. The side effects of chemotherapy can be severe, so you should plan to rest after you receive your treatment.

4. Ongoing Monitoring

Once you're pronounced cancer-free, you can go back to living your life. However, you should still visit your dermatologist on a regular basis for ongoing monitoring. You may be more likely to get melanoma again if you've had it once, and genetics can also increase your risk. During your dermatologist appointment, your doctor will carefully check your whole body for suspicious moles and birthmarks.