Current UV Index
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Alice Springs
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Gold Coast
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Click the indexes to view the minimum recommended protection

When the UV index is low, sun protection is generally not needed unless outside for extended periods

UV observations courtesy of ARPANSA


Chemotherapy (chemo) is a treatment using drugs that are usually injected into a vein or taken as a tablet. The drugs travel throughout the body and attack cancer cells that have already spread beyond the initial (primary) melanoma. Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles and is often associated with side effects.   The goal of chemotherapy is to slow the growth of the cancer cells that have spread.  It is rare that a cure is achieved.  Chemo is usually not as effective in melanoma as it is in some other types of cancer, but it may relieve symptoms or extend survival for some patients.

Whislt chemo can still be used to treat advanced melanoma, it is no longer routinely used as the first treatment  due to the recent development and availability of newer forms of immunotherapy and targeted drugs.

Possible side effects of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy works by attacking cells that are dividing quickly, which is how cancer cells behave. Unfortunatley chemo cannot act on the cancer cells alone and also affects other rapidly dividing cells such as bone marrow (where new blood cells are made), the lining of the mouth and intestines, and the hair follicles.

The side effects of chemo depend on the type and dose of drugs and the length of time they are given. These side effects may include:

  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Neuropathy (nerve pain, tingling, burning, heat/cold sensitivity)

Side effects are usually temporary and steps can be taken to prevent or reduce them, however the impact on a patient's quality of life whilst undergoing chemo can be considerable.