Chemotherapy for melanoma
In the treatment of melanoma the method used depends on the stage of the disease. If treatment is started in the initial stage, before the tumor has not yet metastasized, it is usually limited to surgical removal of the tumor. When melanoma spreads on the skin and gives secondary foci formed in the lymph nodes and internal organs, you need a systemic treatment, affecting the entire body. Most often this is chemotherapy.
What is chemotherapy?
This method of treatment is the introduction into the organism of various medications, which the bloodstream disperse throughout the body and attack cancer cells. Chemotherapy for melanoma by 3-4 stages is used almost always, though it is somewhat less effective than in other types of tumors, however, can improve the health of patients and prolong life for some patients.
The treatment takes place in cycles lasting a few weeks. After each cycle, are breaks that are necessary for recovery. Drugs are administered intravenously and are taken in the form of tablets or oral drops. They were designed to affect those cells which divide rapidly. That is primarily on cancer cells, however, can suffer more. Most often "get" the bone marrow cells, hair follicles and mucous membranes, because they also divide faster than the others. It was the defeat of these cells often leads to side effects of chemotherapy.
Side effects in the treatment of melanoma:
- Hair loss,
- Loss of appetite,
- Nausea, vomiting,
- The formation of sores in your mouth
- The decline in resistance to infectious diseases
Usually all side effects are temporary and reversible. They are held during a break in treatment or after it.
Drugs for the treatment of melanoma
The most common drugs for chemotherapy of melanoma:
Some medications are used alone, some in combination with other in combination therapy. Efficient combination therapy, the doctors still argue. According to the results of some studies greater the effect the combination of drugs for chemotherapy with the immunotherapy. This method of treatment is called biochemotherapy.
If biochemotherapy used interferon-alpha or interleukin-2. Their action is based on stimulation of the immune system proteins cytokines. These medicines help to reduce the size of melanoma in the later stages, however, it is not installed, do they increase the life expectancy of patients.
The effectiveness of immunotherapy required high doses of drugs that cause quite significant side effects. It can be fever, depression, severe fatigue, heart damage and liver. Such effects, not all patients are able to move, so this treatment is used sparingly.
Isolated perfusion of the limb
This method of treatment of melanoma allows to direct the drug is not throughout the body, but directly into the tumor cavity. This is possible in cases when the tumor extends only to the arm or leg. This method of treatment is used when surgery. The bloodstream of the affected limb at a time is separated from the common, and into the artery injected the drug for chemotherapy. In this case, the drug acts on the tumor cells, without exerting systemic effects on the entire body. This can significantly reduce thethe possible side effects.
The decision on choice of treatment and the route of administration of drugs in melanoma always taken individually, given the extent of the tumor, stage of disease, depth of skin lesions.