Chemotherapy uses a variety of medicines to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs are usually given in cycles: a course of treatment is followed by a recovery period (to recover from side effects), and then another cycle of treatment and recovery begins.
Chemotherapy for melanoma can be given by mouth or by injection. Depending on which drugs are used, chemotherapy may be given at the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home. Some forms of chemotherapy require a short stay in the hospital.
Another common form of chemotherapy for people with melanoma on the arms or legs is called isolated limb perfusion. In this treatment, large doses of anticancer drugs are warmed and then injected directly into the bloodstream of the arm or leg that has melanoma. The blood flow to and from the arm or leg being treated is stopped for a while, until the drug reaches the tumor. This allows most of the drug to stay in the affected arm or leg, instead of spreading to other parts of the body.