If you are told that you have progressed to Stage 4, we know that this can be extremely traumatic for you as a patient and for your family. This means that the disease has spread from where it started and travelled to another part of your body. This might be some time after your initial diagnosis and you might not have been expecting this to happen. When melanoma has spread to another part of your body it is known as secondary cancer or metastases. You will often hear this being referred to as “advanced melanoma”.
Melanoma can spread to various places in the body and this can create a lot of stress for patients and carers. The spread can be almost any place in the body. Some of the most common places for melanoma to travel to are:
Liver: bones: brain: abdomen: lymph nodes: lungs.
You might be offered Sentinel node biopsy (SLNB) – not all hospitals or surgeons carry out this procedure and you will find more detailed information here
Stage 4 melanoma is very serious and options are limited, but over the last few years, very encouraging progress has been made in treatments. You may have biological therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery – this is something your team will discuss with you.
Deciding on treatment is difficult and this can differ depending on the spread of the disease, the hospital or centre you are being treated in and your overall health.
There are different therapies available for clinicians to use in advanced melanoma. Information regarding treatments can be found here.