Our Approach to Ocular Melanoma Treatment

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Our unique approach combines exceptional patient care with innovative science to improve the understanding of, and outcomes for ocular melanoma. Patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in ocular melanoma. This includes ophthalmologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and interventional radiologists who collaborate to deliver a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

In addition, we utilize advanced technology to analyze and process tissue samples to determine the best treatment approaches and identify those at high risk for metastasis. We also use these tissue samples in research to better understand the disease and its response to therapy.

Primary Ocular Melanoma

Patients diagnosed with ocular melanoma are often treated with surgery and/or radiation.

Your ophthalmologist will work with you to determine if surgery is an appropriate approach. Surgery is determined by the location and size of tumor, if it has spread, and the general health of the patient. Surgery options can range from removing the melanoma of the ciliary body or choroid to removal of the eyeball.

Radiation therapy is often used as an initial treatment for ocular melanoma. At Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center we recommend proton beam radiation therapy for patients needing radiation.

Metastatic Ocular Melanoma

Nearly 50% of patients with ocular melanoma will develop metastasis. In most cases, the disease spreads to the liver. Treatments for patients with metastatic disease often involve clinical trials as well as liver-directed therapies.

Clinical trials are critical in helping doctors learn new information about this and other rare diseases. They offer patients an opportunity to work closely with our researchers and have early access to treatments not available elsewhere. Participating in clinical trials helps patients take an active role in their care and advance cancer research for themselves and future patients.

Our interventional radiology team works with patients to provide CT scans, X-rays and MRI therapies directed to liver metastasis. These may include chemoembolization, intra-arterial chemotherapy, and radiofrequency ablation. These procedures are performed without surgery by using image-guided technologies to place a catheter inside the body to treat patients.

Compassionate Care and Support

We understand that cancer affects patients and their families in many ways. In addition to providing highly personalized care and attention from our doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff, our Center offers a wide range of services, before, during, and after treatment. Support programs and resources that help patients and families include:

  • Financial planning
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Integrative therapies, including massage and acupuncture
  • Support groups led by our social workers