Cancer is complex — there is no routine ocular melanoma, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James physicians are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their one particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, ocular melanoma patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are ocular melanoma researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only four cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for ocular melanoma. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual ocular melanoma. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Treatment Options


Surgery is used most often to treat ocular melanoma. Types of surgery include:


The doctor removes the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue around the tumor.


If the tumor is large and vision cannot be saved, the doctor removes the eye and the optic nerve. Enucleation also is performed if the tumor has spread to the optic nerve or if it causes extreme pressure inside the eye. Following surgery, the patient is fitted for an artificial eye to match the other eye’s size and color.


The doctor removes the eye, eyelid, muscles, nerves and fat tissue in the eye socket. The patient is fitted following surgery for a matching artificial eye or a facial prosthesis.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays or other types of radiation to destroy cancer cells. Radiation often is delivered from a machine outside your body that is targeted directly at the cancer cells.

Localized plaque therapy is a type of radiation. The OSUCCC – James was the first center in the country to use this special type of internal radiation therapy, or brachytherapy, for patients with ocular melanoma.

Localized plaque radiation therapy involves attaching tiny radioactive seeds to a disk called a plaque. The doctor places the disk on the wall of the eye where the ocular melanoma tumor is located and the gold disk delivers radiation directly to the tumor without damaging healthy eye tissue.


Photocoagulation uses laser light to destroy the blood vessels that supply a small but growing tumor with nutrients. This causes the tumor cells to die.


Thermotherapy uses heat from a laser to destroy cancer cells and shrink a tumor.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has hundreds of open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only four U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and phase II clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, metastasize or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase I and phase II approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

If you have received an ocular melanoma diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to an ocular melanoma specialist, we are here to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210


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