NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Melanoma - page 46

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Melanoma
Version 1.2013
Part 5: Treatment side effects
5.1 Side effects of surgery
Tumor surgery side effects
The risk and severity of side effects from surgery for
melanoma depend on many factors. This includes the
type of surgery, extent of surgery, and the size of the
melanoma tumor. Side effects of surgeries that remove
skin tumors include:
• Pain,
• Swelling, and
• Scarring.
Pain and swelling are usually temporary symptoms that
should only last for a few weeks after surgery. Scars can
be a lasting side effect of surgery.
Lymph node surgery side effects
Both lymph node dissection and sentinel lymph node
biopsy have side effects. However, side effects are much
more common and severe with lymph node dissection.
Common side effects of lymph node surgery include:
• Numbness (short- or long-term),
• Limited arm or leg movement (short-term), and
• Lymphedema.
Normally, lymph flows throughout the body and then
returns to the heart. Lymph node surgery can disrupt
the normal flow of lymph and cause it to build up in the
limb (arm or leg). The buildup of lymph causes the limb
to swell. This is called lymphedema and it is the most
serious side effect of lymph node surgery. Lymphedema
may be temporary or permanent. There is no way to
know who will develop it or when it will develop. It can
happen just after surgery or months to years later.
5.2 Side effects of cancer drugs
Chemotherapy side effects
Side effects of chemotherapy depend on the drug, how
it is given, the amount taken, the length of treatment,
and the person. In general, side effects are caused by
the death of fast growing cells. These cells are found
in the gut, mouth, and blood. Common side effects of
chemotherapy for melanoma include:
• Infection,
• Fever,
• Low white blood cell counts,
• Bleeding and bruising,
• Nausea and vomiting,
• Loss of appetite,
• Fatigue,
• Mouth sores, and
• Hair loss.
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