At Wake Forest Baptist, we treat melanoma in a multidisciplinary fashion. Different cancer specialists work together to provide the most advanced personalized treatment available.
There are several treatment options for melanoma:
Your doctor will probably recommend surgery as your first form of treatment if you have melanoma. Your surgeon will recommend a wide local excision to remove the melanoma lesion as well as surrounding tissue to try to prevent the cancer from spreading. Wake Forest Baptist surgical oncologists use sentinel lymph node biopsies during surgery to determine if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes. Once involved lymph nodes are identified, they can safely remove them. Surgery is also used to stage the cancer—to determine how far the cancer has spread. Learn more about melanoma surgery at Wake Forest Baptist.
There are many exciting advancements in the use of immunotherapies to treat melanoma. These include a new approach known as immune checkpoint blockade, drugs known as cytokines and cell transfer techniques. Learn more about immunotherapies for the treatment of melanoma.
- Targeted therapies
Genetic changes (mutations) have been identified in melanoma tumors that promote its growth. About half of all melanomas have changes n the BRAF gene. Your tumor can be tested to see if it expresses these mutations. Several new drugs are being used to target melanoma tumors that have mutations in the BRAF gene, including vemurafenib (Zelboraf), dabrafenib (Tafinlar), trametinib (Mekinist), and cobetinib (Cotellic). Clinical trials are in progress to test different genetic targets and drugs.
- Radiation Oncology
Radiation therapy is effective for patients with advanced cases of melanoma. Radiation therapy can help treat the spread of the disease. Learn more about radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy can be an effective treatment for melanoma, depending on the stage of the disease. At Wake Forest Baptist, our physicians perform an unusual chemotherapy technique known as perfusion/infusion. Learn more about chemotherapy for the treatment of melanoma at Wake Forest Baptist.