Australia has long fought to decrease cancer rates. As a country with an average of 246 days of sunshine a year and a large number of fair-skinned people. It makes sense that skin cancer is a great challenge facing this country.
Leading the way in public health campaigns, Australia has made concerted efforts to help people take their health into their own hands and prevent skin cancer before it has a chance to spread or become deadly. But once skin cancer is detected, what are the options? Below we explore the main courses of treatment available in Australia.
Melanoma treatment through surgery
Surgery is the most common treatment for melanoma in Australia. The type of surgery; however, will take many forms depending on how far the cancer has spread. If it’s in the early stages, a skin biopsy to remove the mole or tumor in order to diagnose skin cancer may be all that’s needed.
A wide local excision is another common method of removing the cancerous cells. In this method, the skin around the site of the tumor is removed to minimize the risk of the cancer returning. Surgeries may also be performed in the later stages of the cancer’s progression.
Surgery to remove the lymph nodes often occurs in stage three to remove the cancer and prevent it from spreading further. The most common areas this occurs is in the neck, armpit and groin regions.
Also read: melanoma treatment options: stage 1 to 4
Radiotherapy kills cancer cells with high-energy light rays. According to Melanoma Patients Australia, this method is often used as a way to relieve symptoms that occur from metastases throughout the body.
It is also used on patients who are unable to undergo surgery, patients whose melanoma is too extensive to treat with surgery or those who are considered at high-risk for melanoma returning in a region that has been operated on.
Biological therapy treatment
According to the Australian Melanoma Research Foundation, biological therapies use living organisms to help fight disease. There are considered two types of biological therapy: targeted treatments and immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is treatment that work in tandem with the body’s immune system. All in all, biological therapy can mean a wide range of treatments.
Melanoma Patients in Australia lists the most common forms; interferons, interleukins, colony-stimulating factors, monoclonal antibodies, gene therapies, and cancer vaccines. They also cite immune therapy as the area of greatest research in Australia at this time.
While early studies show promise, there is still much work that needs done before long term benefits can be determined.
Chemotherapy is used to treat skin cancer when it has spread to other areas of the body. Cancer Council Australia notes that it is almost always used in combination with other treatments as “it is not curative for most solid cancers when used alone.”
For additional information on treatment options in Australia, visit Cancer Council Australia.