Those facing a melanoma diagnosis want nothing more than to beat the disease and move forward with life. But treatments have been, to this point, relatively painful. Now, a new, pain-free treatment may make serious inroads against this deadly form of skin cancer. Let’s take a closer look at this medical breakthrough.
Melanoma is cancer that starts in the melanocytes under the skin. The American Cancer Society reports around 100,000 new cases of melanoma each year. Because this type of skin cancer can spread quickly to other major organs, it is one of the most deadly. The survival rate is high if it’s caught and treated early, so early detection is vital to a good prognosis with this type of cancer.
The typical treatment for melanoma depends on the stage and the patient’s overall health. After staging, removal via wide excision, along with target therapy, is the general course of action. For those needing targeted chemotherapy, treatment in this way can also be painful because the skin is still healing from surgery.
With this new approach, miniaturized nanoneedles are placed on the skin via a water-soluble patch. These porous needles deliver a topical treatment and are then dissolved through bodily fluids. The result is less pain, discomfort and reduced side effects because treatment is aimed directly at the cancer.
For many patients, the fear of surgery and chemotherapy can be overwhelming. The side effects of whole-body chemo can wreak havoc and pain on the body in its already immunocompromised state.
The patch offers a more direct approach, delivering chemo directly to the affected areas. It has fewer painful side effects as a result and fewer administration requirements (e.g. port insertion, lengthy infusion visits) that come with traditional intravenous methods. This can relieve a lot of stress and worry in addition to alleviating pain and systemic side-effects.
The patch treatment for melanoma could help ensure patients have some sense of normalcy in their lives as well as encourage or allow for fitness which is vital to wellbeing and overall health. Pain plays a big role in traditional melanoma therapies, limiting what people can do throughout the day due to functionality and systemic symptoms like fatigue. Reducing that pain helps healing proceed faster and helps maintain overall health. The patch not only treats the disease, but it also makes it easier to stay active and enjoy the everyday activities patients did prior to their diagnosis, increasing or at least maintaining mental as well as physical health.
The wearable patch is still in the developmental stages, but this treatment is right around the corner and will undoubtedly be a welcome option for those facing this devastating cancer. It offers hope that treatment options will be more tolerable and manageable and wow, that's a hopeful breakthrough we can definitely get behind.
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