Options for Stage II Melanoma: Making the Decision That’s Right For You
A diagnosis of melanoma is often scary and overwhelming. If you (or someone you love) have been diagnosed with Stage II melanoma, which is a deep melanoma with or without ulceration that does not involve the lymph nodes, it will typically be managed by surgical removal. Depending on its characteristics, the melanoma may be at high risk of coming back or spreading after the surgery. Your health care provider may offer active surveillance to monitor you closely for melanoma recurrence without any specific treatment. Or you may be offered an option called adjuvant therapy. This type of therapy is called adjuvant because it is given after the surgical removal of cancer, and it is given to reduce the chance of the melanoma coming back or spreading.
To help you or your loved one learn more about Stage II melanoma and weigh the benefits and risks of adjuvant therapy vs active surveillance, we’ve brought together two experts in melanoma for a discussion.
On behalf of AIM, Dr. Geoffrey Lim, a dermatologic surgeon in private practice at SkinMed Institute, in Lone Tree, Colorado, interviewed Dr. Jason Luke, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, a leading medical oncologist and one of the authors of a key adjuvant therapy study. They will go over the most common questions about Stage II melanoma, which Stage II patients are eligible for adjuvant therapy, and the pros and cons of adjuvant therapy vs active surveillance. This resource should help you or your loved one, in conjunction with your oncology care team, make an informed decision about steps to take after surgery.
This discussion will go over the following questions:
- What is Stage II melanoma?
- Is Stage II melanoma at high risk for coming back (recurring)?
- It is true that Stage II melanoma can have a worse prognosis than Stage III melanoma?
- How can I lower the risk of Stage II melanoma coming back? What adjuvant drugs are used?
- What are the side effects of adjuvant therapy?
- How is adjuvant therapy given?
- How do you weigh the benefits and risks of adjuvant therapy vs active surveillance?
- What do you tell patients who have Stage IIA melanoma and are worried about their risk for recurrence?