According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 99,780 new melanomas will be diagnosed in 2022. Though younger adults can develop melanoma, seniors are at much higher risk, with Caucasian men over 65 having the highest frequency. Here’s some information about treatment for this type of skin cancer.
Overview of Melanoma Treatment
Based on your elderly loved one’s medical history, cancer stage, and pathology report, doctors may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
- Surgery – Often the first line of treatment for early-stage, highly localized melanomas, this procedure involves excising the entire melanoma along with a border of normal skin to ensure all cancerous cells have been removed.
- Chemotherapy – This is a systemic therapy designed to destroy or slow the growth of cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy – Another systemic therapy that boosts the immune system to fight the cancer, this is most often used in cases where there’s a high risk of metastasis and recurrence.
- Targeted therapy – This type of therapy uses drugs to block the signals that allow cancer cells to grow and has been approved to be used on melanomas found positive for a particular gene mutation.
Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for the help they need. We provide high-quality in-home care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Treatment Side Effects
Seniors can react to cancer treatments in a variety of ways. The most common side effects of melanoma treatment include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Fluid retention and swelling
Caring for a loved one with melanoma can be difficult at times. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide senior care. Frederick families can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer compassionate care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties.
Treatment for Advanced or Metastatic Melanoma
If the melanoma spreads beyond the skin, it’s much harder to treat. In these cases, participating in clinical trials may provide the best treatment option. Clinical trials are studies designed to determine the efficacy of new and cutting-edge cancer treatments, and they typically involve combinations of vaccines, immunotherapies, and new forms of chemotherapy.
The Importance of Palliative Care
Palliative care is designed to meet the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs of individuals with serious illnesses like melanoma. The goal is to increase your loved one’s quality of life, but this type of care isn’t expected to cure the disease. A palliative care team works with your loved one to control treatment side effects, clarify treatment options, and provide physical and emotional support.
If your aging loved one is managing a serious illness and needs help accomplishing everyday tasks, he or she can benefit from Frederick homecare services. Seniors who need around-the-clock assistance can rely on professional home caregivers to prepare nutritious meals and snacks, assist with personal hygiene tasks like bathing and grooming, and provide timely medication reminders. To talk to one of our friendly Care Managers and create a customized senior care plan, call Assisting Hands Home Care at (301) 786-5045.