In case of melanoma skin cancer, the dermatologist will recommend the type of treatment according to the location and stage of the melanoma and the patient’s overall medical condition. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness provides skin cancer treatments to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and other suburbs and communities in this section of the US.
Treatments for Different Stages of Melanoma
Treating Stage I Melanoma
Stage I melanomas have not developed further than the upper layer of the skin (the epidermis). They are typically surgically treated (wide excision) to eliminate the melanoma and a small margin of healthy skin surrounding it. The sample that is removed is sent to the lab to be examined under a microscope. If cancer cells are visible at the border of the sample, the surgeon will repeat the excision process.
In some cases, the treatment provider may prescribe a sentinel lymph node biopsy, specifically if the melanoma is stage I-B or has other attributes that make it possible for it to have reached the lymph nodes. The patient and physician should discuss this alternative.
If cancer cells are detected on the sentinel lymph node biopsy, a lymph node dissection (elimination of all lymph nodes near the cancer site) is frequently recommended. However, it is not sure whether this leads to an improvement in the survival.
Some treatment providers may prescribe adjuvant (additional) procedures with interferon post lymph node surgery. Other medications or vaccines might be alternatives as a part of a clinical trial to try to reduce the chances of the melanoma recurring.
Treating Stage II Melanoma
Wide excision (the surgical procedure to remove the melanoma as well as a margin of healthy skin surrounding it) is the standard treatment for melanoma in stage II. The amount of the healthy skin that will be removed is dependent on the location and thickness of the melanoma.
Since the melanoma may have spread to the nearby lymph nodes, several physicians recommend a sentinel lymph node biopsy. The patient should discuss this option with their doctor. If the sentinel node biopsy reveals the presence of cancer cells, then a lymph node dissection (the procedure in which all the lymph nodes in the region are removed surgically) will probably be performed at a later time.
For certain patients (such as those with lymph nodes with cancer), the provider may recommend interferon treatment post-surgery (adjuvant therapy).
Treatment for Locally Recurrent Melanoma
These local (skin) recurrences are treated with a surgical procedure similar to that for primary melanoma. The doctor may recommend other treatments depending on the location and thickness of the melanoma. A total lymph node dissection may be performed if the melanoma has recurred in the nearby lymph nodes.
Reconstructive surgery may be performed if the area of the skin removed is fairly large due to multiple tumors grouped close to each other. Reconstructive surgery will repair the skin and the surrounding area where the melanoma is removed.
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for skin cancer treatments.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)
Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.