In a nutshell
This study wanted to give an outline on what the current guidelines are for treating skin melanoma. The study overall said that surgery is the best way to remove the melanoma. Removing wide area around the melanoma is a good idea to make sure all the cancer cells are removed.
Skin melanoma can sometimes be cancerous and sometimes be non-cancerous. The most common method for removing skin melanoma is through surgery, to cut out the piece of skin with the tumor in it. Generally, melanoma has a very high survival rate.
Methods & findings
The study was looking at all stages of skin melanoma, but mostly looked at the primary tumor. The primary tumor is the main tumor which may or may not spread throughout the body. The first area the study looked at was how to properly remove the melanoma through surgery, and how to define what kind of cancer it is. The study found that removing the entire melanoma, along with a maximum of 2cm of skin surrounding the melanoma, is safest. There are other ways to remove the melanoma which are also acceptable in certain circumstances, like when the melanoma is in a difficult area of the body, or when it is very big. The study also found that using “scooping” techniques when removing a melanoma works best. This means that any cancer cells that are deep in the skin get removed too. The study also suggested that in some cases, testing the surrounding lymph nodes is a good idea. Lymph nodes are connected to the body’s immune system. In some types of cancer, the lymph nodes that are close to the area where the tumor is are taken out of the body. They can then be tested, and the results of the test can tell doctors if the cancer has spread. The study concluded that the best way to stop the cancer spreading or coming back is by the patient visiting the doctor regularly.
In some cases, surgery to remove a melanoma may not be possible. A cream containing a medication called imiquimod (Aldara) is sometimes recommended in these cases. Radiation therapy is also an option, but it is very uncommon. New drugs are always being tested for melanoma, especially ones which do not involve surgery. Creams to rub on the melanoma are an area being studied. More research will be done into these areas in the future.
The bottom line
The study concluded that surgical treatment of skin melanoma is the most effective option. In general, it is safest to remove large areas of skin to ensure all cancer is gone.
The fine print
This study gave an outline of what is currently used to treat skin melanoma. There is lots of research happening to find out if there are ways we can treat skin melanoma more successfully.
Published By :
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Nov 02, 2018