Melanoma

A support group for anyone affected by melanoma to come together, share experiences, and ask questions.

Surgery or radiotherapy for melonoma - best options?

Luizka
Posted by

Hi all, 

New to this group but thought someone might be able to share some of their thought processes when deciding on treatment... 

My Dad has melonoma on his foot. He had surgery last autumn to have one removed, but now unfortunately there are more (two) again on the foot around his ankle. His surgery last year was quite a traumatic experience for him, only about 15% of the skin graft took and as it was mostly on bottom of his foot he was hospitalized for weeks. He couldn't walk and he lives alone so the OTs wouldn't let him out until he had better mobility, although even then it was months before he could walk any distance. 

He has been suggested surgery again but is obviously very scared about losing mobility (and the disfigurement of course too) and has turned it down. They said in that case he can instead do radiotherapy.

So my question is - in the long run would the surgery be a better option? How effective is radio vs surgical removal? How uncomfortable is one process vs the other, especially considering it being on such an awkward place on the body? 

I can see he is still feeling very anxious about if he is making the right choices (especially as I don't think he thought it would come back so soon) and I am trying to find my way around how to reassure him, or even change his mind depending on his thought process.

Has anybody else made the choice between these two options? How did you feel about it? 

danensis
Posted by

Are you in the UK? Radiotherapy is not used much for treating melanoma, as it doesn't have a particularly good rack record. However melanoma on the areas of skin that don't have hair (like the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet) is called acral melanoma, and behaves quite differently from cutaneous (elsewhere on the skin) melanoma.

If you have only been talking to surgeons and radiologists, it may be worth finding an oncologist to discuss the current treatment options.

Luizka
Posted by

Thanks Danensis for such a quick response! He is in the UK but I live overseas so this time around I haven't managed to be at any appointments, only getting back in 2 weeks time.

The more I think it through the more I understand I need to discuss with the rest of my family to make sure someone can be there at an appointment with him at the hospital (he has on Friday).

I suspect he himself is not quite sure of all the options (or at least hasn't set himself to thinking about them) he only got the biopsy back around a month ago I think and the one thing he is against is surgery, won't even think about it, the thought makes him more depressed than the cancer itself. I have only seen the photos and despite his difficulties with skin grafts before I can't help but feel it might be a more comfortable process for him than therapies though, or at least something more effective... Thanks for your thoughts! 

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi and welcome to the online community

I'm sorry to hear that your dad has had a couple more melanomas diagnosed on his foot.

You don't say what stage your dad's melanoma is but it may be classed as recurrent melanoma if it's appeared in the same area. Usually surgery is used to remove melanoma but radiotherapy can be used for recurrent melanoma and this link will provide you with information about radiotherapy for recurrent melanoma.

Let us know how your dad gets on

x

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

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Luizka
Posted by

Thanks so much Latchbrook for the sympathy and for sharing your knowledge!

I really think my Dad was not entirely knowing what he was going to do (and so he was confusing us all), but I hope now he was at long consult with an oncologist he can feel more confident. My brother just went with him to see oncologist today and the decision is he is going to start doing nivolumab, every 2 weeks and we see how that gets on.

There's no cancer in brain, organs or torso that all looks good but he has another melanoma confirmed on his leg so this definitely seems the best way from here.

Really happy to have found this group, reading all the different testimonies and experiences is helpful as so far have felt a bit like having no idea what to expect. Guess I never thought this melanomas would come back in numbers. 

Strength to everyone on here, it's never easy, but you are not alone! 

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi

Thanks for letting us know how your dad is getting on. There are quite a few people in this group who are having Nivolumab so if you want to ask any questions about it you could start a new thread.

It's great that they haven't found any spread to any of his organs and hopefully it'll remain that way.

Good to know as well that you've found this group helpful and I hope that you continue to do so.

((hugs))

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?