NCCN Quick Guide™ | Melanoma

1 of 2 NCCN QUICK GUIDE tm Melanoma, 2018 This NCCNQUICK GUIDE tm sheet summarizes key points from the complete NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Melanoma . T hese guidelines explain which tests and treatments are recommended by experts in cancer. To view and download the guidelines, visit or, to order printed copies, visit What is melanoma? Melanoma is a cancer that starts in cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are found in the lower part of the top layer of the skin called the epidermis. Melanoma can spread to (invade) the lower part of the skin, called the dermis, to reach nearby tissues and other parts of the body. 10 What tests are used to diagnose (confirm) melanoma? Medical history Physical exam � Your medical history includes any health events in your life and any medications you’ve taken. � A physical exam is a review of your body for signs of disease. 19 Tissue tests � To confirm if you have melanoma, a sample of tissue must be removed from the concerning spot on your skin to test for cancer cells. 20 � After a skin biopsy confirms melanoma, a biopsy of the lymph nodes may be recommended to check if the cancer has spread. 24 How do doctors rate melanoma growth to plan treatment? Cancer staging is how doctors assess and rate the extent of the cancer. The cancer stage is based on the growth and spread of the primary tumor. It’s used to plan treatment. 29 What treatments are used for melanoma? � Surgery, a wide excision, is often used as the main (primary) treatment to remove cancer. 36 � Systemic therapy is the use of drugs, like immunotherapy, to treat cancer throughout the body. 40 � Radiation therapy is most commonly used for melanoma as palliative treatment to relieve symptoms such as pain caused by the cancer. 46 � Supportive care is treatment for the symptoms that are caused by cancer or its cancer treatment. 47 � A clinical trial is a type of research that studies how safe and helpful a treatment is. 48 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® Page Number Ü NCCN GUIDELINES FOR PATIENTS ® NCCN QUICK GUIDE tm Melanoma 2018