Has anyone done IMRT radiation for melanoma? I'm recently diagnosed with Stage III B.

Posted By
9/10/2010 8:46pm
View other posts by
Replies: 6

I am newly diagnosed with two excisions and a sentinal lymph node biopsy.  I am Stage III B because of microsatellites.  I have had three opinions on treatments.  One said "vigilant observation" and two others said radiation therapy.  However, one said external beam radiation - 4 weeks / 5 times a week.  And the other said IMRT (aka 3D conformal) radiation which avoids bones and provides less radiation to healthy cells.  It also is a five day treatment.

I'd like to do the IMRT therapy, but have not found any other online resources talking about it with Stage III melanoma to an extremity (mine is on my arm).  I'm just reaching out blindly to anyone on this board to see if anyone has experience with it or if the cancer center I went to is just very proactive in it''s use.

Thank you to anyone who responds.

- Kristin

(PS - my screen name is supposed to be LambChop, but I guess I am tired and just not focused these days.)


I just finished 5 times per week for 5 weeks of Radiation.  Dont know which type it was.  i will check with the Radiation oncologist next week.    The final week they focused on an area that they felt was part of the margin area that was not clear.  That area they treated with a focused Proton Beam.  I think they said the other 5 weeks was an Electron beam.

They had a high dose treatment which was one or two doses per week for 3 weeks, but that would have completly destroyed my skin graft area.

Hopefully whichever one one you chose will be beneficial.

Bill from Illinois
Stage IV Spine Mets, brain mets ans subq mets.
starting whole brain radiation on 11/8 and then compassionate use IPI ASAP.

Do the radiation, I wouldn't worry to much on the type of machine.



Three different sessions of radiation.


I have been through this radiation twice, in 2 different areas.  Once was head and neck, 5 treatments over 15 days in 2007, and then again 3 months ago on the groin area,.  I did this both times at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  I have been told by the radiation oncologists there that this has been shown to be more effective than conventional radiation.  At any rate, I'll be happy to answer any questions I can for you.




I am a stage III patient. I had IMRT in January of this year following a parotidectomy and neck dissection. I had two sessions a week for three weeks. My melanoma specialist said that he only suggests radiation for melanoma when it is for an area where lymph nodes have been removed since radiation does not have a great response rate for melanoma.

I'm not sure if the radiation was actually needed in my case. It was precautionary more than anything, but I'm glad that I had it because I feel like it was being proactive and doing everything that I could to prevent a recurrence in the area.

Be kind, for everyone is fighting a great battle.

Hi Kristin,

I've had 3 sessions of cobalt radiation to my knee and ankle, 1 session of RT (don't know which) to my breast, 10 sessions of whole brain radiation (cobalt) to my brain, and gamma knife surgery to my brain. I've had no side effects, except for fatigue and losing my hair from the WBR. Radiation is not a treatment in itself, as melanoma is fairly radio-resistant, but it's a good option as a follow-up to a previous treatment or surgery, just to give it an extra kick when it's down. When I was diagnosed back in 2006, I had a WLE and SNB (negative), so my onc sent me to a radiation onc to see if radiation would be necessary. His words to me were "My dear, you are so low-risk for recurrence, it would be a shame to radiate your leg." So, no RT. Six months later I recurred in the very same spot, and it's been quite a ride ever since. I didn't know any better back then. I still hadn't found this board, I knew NOTHING about melanoma, and I trusted the doctors implicitly. Now, looking back, I really feel that if I had been given RT back in 2006, I wouldn't be where I am today. If we had zapped those remaining micro-mets when we had the chance, maybe I wouldn't have recurred -- or at least not recurred so quickly and aggressively. Anyway, the moral to my story is "Go get the RT, IMRT, or whatever they have to offer you." Good luck with it! Let us know how things go.



Stage IV

WLE, SNB, ILP, LND, PV-10, Uterine mets (Hysterectomy), GM-CSF, WBR, RT, Temodar, B-RAF negative, SRS (Novalis) to brain, Breast mets (Mastectomy), currently on Ipilimumab compassionate use trial
Mets to brain, lung and sub-qs. Craniotomy.


I just got back from seeing my Radiologist.  I received 5 weeks, 5 days per week of Photon beam radiation and 5 sessions of electron beam radiation on a very focused section of my leg.  The photon beam was to treat a very large area of my leg, around the knee and thigh.

I asked him about the IMRT radiation and he said it was normally used when they needed the beam to treat an area that was around a sensitive object, usually an internal organ and they did not want that area to receive radiation, just the area around it.

You said you want to avoid dosing the healthy cells, and maybe this is an approach.  The photon beam attacks a wider area of the skin.  They put on some type of Gel packs to absorb a portion of the radiation so that it really only treated the skin and a few layers below that, not the bone. 

Good luck with whatever option you chose.  In my case, I just had a pet scan and they found mel in my spine.  it has nothing to do with the radiation and the cells must have been floating around even before the radiation.


Bill from Illinois
Stage IV Spine Mets, brain mets ans subq mets.
starting whole brain radiation on 11/8 and then compassionate use IPI ASAP.