Malignant Melanoma at 4x Magnification
Complete surgical removal of a melanoma is the standard treatment for the cancer. The excision generally includes some healthy tissue surrounding the growth, as well, to ensure that no cancer cells remain in the area. Nearby lymph nodes may also be removed to further help control the disease and a skin graft may be performed depending upon the total amount of tissue that is lost. In cases where the melanoma has already metastasized, surgery is often not an effective treatment. Consequently, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and gene therapy are usually utilized in such cases, though frequently with limited success. Individual outcomes vary greatly, however, as no two cases of melanoma are exactly alike. Patients who have been treated for a melanoma are at increased risk of developing a new growth and also experience a certain amount of risk for a recurrence of the original tumor.