What is metastatic melanoma?
Metastatic melanoma, Stage 4 or stage IV melanoma is a cancer that started in a spot, sore or mole and its cells have spread to other body organs, distant from the origin, where they created new lesions. These lesions are called “metastases” and are made of melanoma cancer cells.
Even though the cancer has spread to other organs, it is still defined as a melanoma cancer and is treated as such. In this manner for example, a lesion in the lung that is a metastasis of melanoma cancer shall be treated with melanoma drugs and not lung cancer drugs.
What are the causes of metastatic melanoma?
The main cause of skin cancer is exposure to the sun’s rays, particularly ultra-violet (UV) rays. Light toned skin, a tendency to moles and freckles, a family history of skin cancer, and older age, constitute risk factors for skin cancer.
The primary recommendation for people belonging to these categories is to avoid direct exposure to the sun and be sure to use sun protection, such as sunscreen lotions, sunglasses, and clothes with full body cover.
What are the advanced treatments for melanoma?
The National Cancer Institute, NCI, highlights the fact that for stage 4 melanoma patients, the best treatment option is to join one of the many clinical trials existing worldwide aiming to increase their chances of therapeutic success.
Currently, every patient will be offered the standard protocols. Sometimes the oncologist may suggest integrating these therapies with trials carried out in the institute.
Advances in cancer therapies may be found in clinical trials prescribing cutting edge, innovative drugs, some of which have already been recognized by the US Food & Drug Administration, the FDA, as “breakthrough drugs” and require further information to be approved.
It is important to know and have access to cutting edge cancer treatments that best match the unique medical condition of the melanoma patient and increase chances in winning the fight against compared to the standard care offered.