Treatment By Stage
Stage IV Treatment

No treatment has yet been shown to prolong survival or cure disease in Stage IV melanoma, although many experimental treatments are under investigation. Treatments instead focus on relieving uncomfortable symptoms caused by the disease. They include:

  • Surgery to remove cancerous tumors or lymph nodes that have metastasized to other areas of the body, if they are few in number and are causing symptoms.
  • Established and experimental systemic therapies use substances that travel through the bloodstream to reach and affect cancer cells throughout the body. Chemotherapy uses toxic drugs to destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy uses natural and manufactured substances to help the body's immune system fight disease more effectively. These treatments may cause severe side effects.
  • Radiation therapy uses forms of energy, including x-rays and gamma rays, to kill cancer cells. It is generally reserved for advanced cases where surgery is not possible or may be complicated, and for relieving symptoms of metastatic disease to the brain or bone.

See also Follow-Up Management: Stage IV.

About Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies to evaluate new therapies and improve cancer care. These studies are responsible for most of the advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. If you have melanoma, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial.

See Clinical Trials to learn more about these studies, or go directly to the Stage IV Clinical Trials list.