Chemotherapy is the administration of cancer-fighting medication (cytotoxic drugs) to destroy cancer cells. It can help reduce or slow the growth of melanoma for a period of time.
There are several chemotherapy drugs that can be used to treat advanced melanoma; the most common is dacarbazine.
- How is the chemotherapy administered?
Chemotherapy is usually given in the day hospital through an injection in a vein (intravenous) through:
- A fine, thin tube inserted into one of the veins in your hand or arm.
- A PICC line: a thin plastic tube placed in a vein on the interior part of your arm.
- A central line: a plastic tube placed in a vein in your chest.
Sometimes, chemotherapy is given in tablet form.
Chemotherapy is usually given during as part of a treatment session. After each session, you will normally have a period of rest lasting for a few weeks. This lets your body recover from the side effects.
The treatment and rest period make up one treatment cycle. Your specialist will talk to you about how many cycles you are going to have.