Advanced melanoma

Advanced melanoma (stage 4 or metastatic melanoma) means the cancer has spread to distant skin sites, lymph nodes, internal organs or bones. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy or immunotherapy. Palliative treatment may also be offered to help you manage your symptoms.

Due to the development of more effective treatments, chemotherapy is now rarely used to treat melanoma. Your medical team will discuss the best treatment for you based on the thickness of the melanoma and how far the melanoma has spread.

Treatment for advanced cancer includes:

Many of the current treatments for advanced melanoma have come from testing in clinical trials. New treatments are continually being developed and you may be asked to participate in a clinical trial to help improve therapies for melanoma.

Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for more information about the emotional and physical aspects of advanced cancer, or download Living with Advanced Cancer.

Some cancer treatments can affect your fertility permanently or temporarily. If having children is important to you, talk to your doctor before starting treatment.

This information was last reviewed in January 2017
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