Radiation For most small and medium-sized tumors, radiation is the recommended treatment. There is currently no evidence that one form of radiation is better than the other.
The different types of radiation therapy include:
• Plaque Brachytherapy (Radiotherapy) A thin piece of metal, called a plaque, is sewn onto the outside wall of the eye. The radioactive seeds in the plaque give off radiation, which aims to kill the tumor. The treatment usually lasts a few days and the plaque is removed at the end of treatment. This is the most common therapy in the United States for posterior (choroidal and ciliary body) ocular melanoma and is considered the standard of care for most UM patients with small or medium-sized tumors. After this treatment, removal of the eye is not usually necessary, and many patients, depending on the tumor location, are able to retain some degree of visual function. • Proton Beam Radiotherapy Clips are surgically placed onto the eye at the tumor base and an external beam of radiation is aimed at the tumor, most often through the front of the eye. Treatment is usually finished after 3–5 daily outpatient treatments.
What do I need to know?
DEFINITION Primary uveal melanoma means that the tumor originated in the eye. TREATMENT OF THE PRIMARY TUMOR The goals of treating the primary tumor are to stop tumor growth, spare the eye, preserve vision and improve patient survival. Treatment most often includes a combination of radiation and surgery but depends on the size and location of the tumor, among other factors. SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: A melanoma diagnosis of any kind is never easy. Patients who have been diagnosed with UM often feel a variety of emotions ranging from denial to anger. A UM diagnosis can be especially difficult. You may find yourself continuously wondering whether or not your melanoma has spread, or will spread, to other places in your body. Know that these feelings and emotions are normal. Meeting others, joining support groups and learning about this disease may help you during this difficult time.
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