When you are diagnosed with skin cancer in the form of melanoma, you may assume that the only treatments available are the standard chemotherapy and radiation.However, there are numerous other treatment options available for melanoma that may seem somewhat unusual. However, these treatments can be quite effective when it seems that other more conventional treatments alone are not doing the trick. Get to know more about a few of these seemingly unusual treatment options so that you know what to expect if conventional treatments aren't working as well for you as they need to.
Combined Immunotherapy Treatments
When skin cancer cells are inoperable for some reason, like when the tumors are too large or the cancer has spread beyond the surface of the skin, there are numerous treatments that a person can try. One of these treatments is a form of immunotherapy, specifically immunotherapy that combines two different drugs to better fight the cancer.
Immunotherapy is the use of a medication or medications to boost the immune system and, in the process, teach the immune system to fight off the cancer cells itself. This form of treatment is relatively new and can help to eradicate skin cancer without all of the negative side effects that come along with treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Virus-Assisted Melanoma Treatments
The most recently approved treatment for melanoma that is unresponsive to other treatments comes in the form of a type of vaccine. The drug in question uses a modified version of the herpes simplex virus to help attack the cancer cells.
The herpes simplex virus is used as a distraction for the cancer cells, allowing the medication to get into the cancer cells. This is another form of immunotherapy, but this is injected directly into the tumors for swifter delivery.
The main purpose of this form of melanoma treatment is to help to shrink the tumors. Other treatments would then follow to further fight the remaining cancerous cells. This could include surgery to remove the tumors that may then be small enough to access or other combinations of treatments both conventional and unconventional.
Now that you know a few of the seemingly more unusual treatment options for melanoma, you will be able to better handle the situation if standard (conventional) treatments are not effective for you. You will be able to talk to your oncologist about your treatments and understand what to expect from the situation, or go to sites about skin cancer to learn more.