Melanoma treatment and recovery

Treating melanoma

Your medical team will work with you to create the best treatment plan for your unique case and recovery. We may use any combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or new immunotherapies to treat or control your melanoma:


Depending on location and severity of the skin cancer, surgery may take one of several forms for removing the tumor and some of the surrounding normal tissue to make sure all cancer cells are eliminated. Because cancer can spread through the lymphatic system, lymph nodes near the tumor also may be removed.

  • Wide excision with oncologically appropriate margins. Removes both the tumor and some surrounding normal skin, typically at least 3 cm.


Immunotherapy uses medication to stimulate your immune system so it can do a better job of targeting and destroying cancer cells.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy or radiotherapy uses X-rays and other types of medical radiation aimed at specific parts of the body. The radiation kills cancer cells, prevents cancer cells from developing or recurring, and improves many of cancer’s symptoms. For certain cancers, radiation therapy is combined with chemotherapy and called chemo-radiotherapy.

Sentinel node biopsy

Sentinel node biopsy is a surgical procedure that helps show whether cancer has spread from the primary tumor into the lymphatic system. It involves a surgeon injecting a tracer material that helps them locate the sentinel nodes during surgery. The sentinel nodes are then removed and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Lymph node dissection

Also called a lymphadenectomy, a lymph node dissection involves the removal of an area of lymph nodes that have cancer. Other lymph nodes may also be removed to prevent cancer from spreading there.