Surgery is the best way to remove early melanomas.
Later stages usually require more extensive treatment.
Simple Excision –
Thin melanomas are surgically removed, along with a small amount
of non-cancerous skin at the edges. This procedure can result in
a complete cure of most patients with thin melanomas (stage 1).
Re-excision (Wide Local Excision)
- After a biopsy has confirmed the diagnosis of melanoma, the site
will be excised again. This procedure removes more tissue around
the primary melanoma for examination to confirm that no cancer cells
remain. If a large area of tissue is removed, a skin graft may be
done at the same time.
Therapeutic Lymph Node Dissection
– This procedure is performed when the lymph nodes nearest
the melanoma feels abnormally large or hard. The lymph nodes are
surgically removed and examined microscopically for evidence of
melanoma cells. Your doctor may perform a procedure called Lymph
Node Mapping. This procedure is used when there are several lymph
node basins that drain from one primary tumor site, allowing the
doctor to identify the nodes that are suspected of containing melanoma
- Using a microscope to examine the tissue, the surgeon excises
the growth layer by layer until only healthy tissue remains. Each
section is microscopically reviewed by the Mohs surgeon (who is
trained in the interpretation of horizontally oriented pathology
specimens). In cases where microscopic examination reveals tumor
in one or more of the subdivided specimens, a corresponding mark
is drawn on the Mohs map. The concept of orienting the tissue specimens
horizontally, which allows for review of 100 percent of the surgical
margin, is unique and is what sets Mohs micrographic surgery apart
from all other skin cancer removal techniques.
(Information provided by Chiron)