Can Complementary Treatment Methods Be Used Alongside Conventional Treatments For Melanoma?

Posted on: 6 March 2023

When you are diagnosed with melanoma, there are complementary treatments you can choose to receive alongside medical treatments. These are meant to help relieve the symptoms of melanoma and are not meant to be a replacement for traditional treatment options. Before considering a complementary treatment method, it's important to know about the conventional methods a dermatologist might use based on the stage of your cancer.

Common Treatment Methods

There are several methods your doctor might recommend to treat melanoma, such as surgery, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.

Stage 0

For stage 0 melanoma, a dermatologist will remove the melanoma and will remove some of the skin cells surrounding it. Some doctors choose to use radiation therapy at this stage.

Stage 1

Treatment for stage 1 melanoma is similar to treatment for stage 0, except that your dermatologist might also choose to perform a sentinel lymph biopsy to determine if you have cancer in the nearby lymph nodes.

If your doctor discovers cancer in the nearby lymph nodes, they will also remove all nearby nodes. However, in other cases, your doctor might use ultrasound to examine your lymph nodes to ensure they do not become cancerous.

Stage 2

Treatment for stage 2 melanoma is similar to stage one, but the doctor might also prescribe a medication to reduce the risk that your cancer returns.

Stage 3

With stage 3 melanoma, your doctor must dissect the lymph nodes and remove the main tumor. Afterward, you are more likely to be placed under targeted therapy drugs to reduce the risk of your cancer returning.

Stage 4

If you are suffering from stage 4 melanoma, the cancer will have metastasized and may have spread to other areas of your body. They are removed if your doctor can do so safely.

If your doctor cannot remove them, they might treat them through chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy. Immunotherapy and targeted drugs are newer treatment methods that more effectively treat metastasis. 

Complementary Treatments

Alongside the treatment recommended by your doctor, you may choose to receive acupuncture alongside medication to alleviate the pain caused by melanoma, which usually only makes sense if you are suffering from an advanced case of melanoma.

You might experience pain near the location of the growth, and you might also suffer from stomach aches. You might also feel tired and experience unexplained weight loss. Acupuncture affects neurological processes and can alleviate pain, nausea, and fatigue. But if you are considering acupuncture or any other alternative treatment method, always consult with your doctor.

Contact a doctor for more information about melanoma cancer treatment