The answer is NO.
There are emerging treatments for other skin cancers that can sometimes replace surgery. Curettage is a scraping technique. Cryotherapy involves freezing skin cells to the point they cannot survive. Creams can sometimes be used for much less serious skin cancers. Photodynamic therapy also involves a cream.
But none of these are applicable to managing melanoma. In short, if you have a melanoma it needs to be excised surgically. In the main doctors manage melanoma in two surgical stages. First an excisional biopsy is undertaken. This involves everything looking abnormal being excised. When melanoma is confirmed, a larger and wider excision is then organised. In this step a wide margin of apparently normal skin is removed around the melanoma. This is done to minimise the chances of the melanoma recurring.
There is perhaps one exception. There is some research testing whether extremely early in situ melanoma can first be treated with imiquimod cream before surgery is undertaken. This has not yet been proven to be satisfactory and would only be done in the context of a research trial. Even in this trial setting, the melanoma still eventually comes to surgery.
So melanoma needs surgical excision with a wide margin of normal skin removed around the tumour. This remains the best treatment and gives the patient the best chance that the melanoma will never recur again.
Dr. Anthony Dixon