ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Treating Your Metastatic Melanoma: Options For You

When you go to the dermatologist for a strange mark or growth on your skin, the last thing you expect is to find yourself with a diagnosis of skin cancer. And you are probably even less prepared for the possibility of a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma. However, if that has happened to you, you need to shift your focus from the initial shock of the diagnosis to beginning a treatment program. Get to know some of the treatment options available to you for your metastatic melanoma so that you and your oncologist can develop you program and get started as soon as possible.


Metastatic melanoma refers to the fact that the melanoma has spread to other areas of the body. This is known as metastasizing. One of the many treatments that may be combined to treat this type of skin cancer is surgery. Skin cancer surgery to remove the surface level skin tumors and cancerous lesions, as well as surgeries to remove other tumors and masses, can get the biggest concentrations of cancer out of the body.

The benefits of surgery as a treatment for metastatic melanoma depend on the number of metastatic tumors you have and where they are located. For the lesions on your skin, your oncologist or surgeon can use a standard cutting technique using a scalpel to remove the tumors. Other options include laser surgery to more precisely remove the tumors or cryosurgery (freezing the tumors).

Virus-Assisted Immunotherapy

One of the newest and most innovative treatments for metastatic melanoma is a new form of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a form of cancer treatment that is designed to get the patient's immune system involved in the fight against cancer. If you can train the disease-fighting cells in you body to target malignancies (cancer cells), then your body will do the work of getting rid of the cancer for you so that you do not need treatments like radiation therapy or chemotherapy that can damage healthy cells as well as cancer cells.

The newer form of immunotherapy uses the assistance of a stripped-down version of the herpes virus (the strain that cause cold sores in its natural state) to deliver the immunotherapy drugs and trigger the immune system to action. The mixture containing the modified version of the herpes virus gets injected directly into a tumor in the body.

The virus acts as a virus does once in the body and replicates inside the melanoma tumor. This releases certain triggers in the body that call the immune system to action. Because the virus and the metastatic tumor are seen as one thing to the immune system, the immune cells will then seek out and destroy other tumors throughout the body.

Now that you know a few of the treatment options available for you for your metastatic melanoma, you can meet with your oncologist and get started and your treatment program as soon as possible.