Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, which occurs in melanocytes – cells that generate melanin. Melanin is a pigment responsible for skin, hair and eye colour. Melanocytes are also responsible for the creation of moles, where melanoma often develops. According to World Health Organization statistics, 132,000 cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year and thousands of people die from melanoma annually. For this reason, early detection of melanoma is essential to gain the best possible chance of treating the disease.
If you have a recently detected melanoma it’s important to know all of the possible treatments. Your doctor will recommend one of a number of treatments that are available depending on the stage of the diagnosed melanoma and based on the investigation and test results.
Below is a list of typical methods for treating melanoma:
Surgery is applied in the case of early-stage melanomas. A variety of surgical options are used to treat melanomas.
Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses x-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells or prevent their growth.
Chemotherapy is a systemic means of therapy to eradicate cancer cells, prevent the growth of malignant cells and to destroy cancer cells that may have spread to other parts of the body by use of a specific regimen of medication.
Immunotherapy for skin cancer patients is a systemic therapy used to treat melanomas with a high risk of recurrence and metastasis. Immunotherapy activates your immune system making it able to identify and destroy cancer cells. Virotherapy is one type of immunotherapy, which uses a unique medicine that contains a virus.
Oncolytic virotherapy is a cancer treatment using a unique virus that is able to detect and eliminate malignant tumor cells in a person’s body.
After the virus is introduced into the patient’s body it finds and infects malignant tumor cells. This process is known as oncotropism. The virus multiplies in the malignant tumor cells and kills them. This process is known as oncolysis. The viruses not only destroy cancer cells but also mobilize the immune system’s natural defense mechanisms including its ability to defend itself against tumor cells.
Not unlike chemotherapy, the goal of oncolytic virotherapy is to attack cancer cells, but virotherapy has several advantages:
- virotherapy selectively eradicates tumor cells without damaging healthy cells in the body;
- virotherapy stimulates the body’s natural defense mechanisms by activating the immune system, which is often suppressed by other treatments;
- virotherapy can be used against tumors that don’t respond well to radiation or chemotherapy, such as melanomas;
- virotherapy can be used at various stages throughout the treatment process: before or after surgery and also between radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Virotherapy is recognized as a safe and effective cancer treatment method. It is a treatment method that protects the body with minimal side effects. It’s important to consult a certified virotherapy specialist and start therapy as soon as possible (stage I, stage II) to achieve the best possible result.