The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved two new drugs, Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib), for patients with metastatic or unresectable melanoma. Historically, the only chemotherapy offered for metastatic melanoma was interferon treatments. These treatments are not well tolerated by patients and aren’t that successful. The addition of two more chemotherapy agents is a welcome addition, offering patients different options for treatment by their oncologist.
The goal in treatment of melanoma is to surgically remove the melanoma before it grows deeper into the skin, which leads to higher rates of metastasis. The general rule is that if a melanoma is greater than 1 millimeter deep, the lymph nodes need to be sampled at the time of melanoma removal (sentinel lymph node biopsy). This is highly accurate in assessing whether the melanoma has spread or not. If the melanoma has spread, usually all of the draining lymph nodes are subsequently removed. The patient is then a candidate for chemotherapy.
Dr. Shareef Jandali specializes in the removal of melanomas and other skin cancers. He believes in a multidisciplinary approach and will refer you to the necessary surgical oncologist if a sentinel lymph node biopsy needs to be performed. Comprehensive melanoma care includes a consultation with a medical oncologist when necessary. If you have been diagnosed with a melanoma, schedule a consultation with Board Certified plastic surgeon Dr. Shareef Jandali by calling 203-374-0310. We look forward to caring for you.