What treatment is needed when melanoma is found? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Treatment for some types of cancer involves taking a look at lymph nodes nearby and removing them if cancer is found. That’s often the case with the skin cancer melanoma, but a new study looks at outcomes among people with this type of cancer who didn’t have their lymph nodes removed. Kimmel Cancer Center director William Nelson at Johns Hopkins explains.

Nelson: There were 823 folks, they were randomized to the sentinel node biopsy alone. What they saw was that 80% of them were free of progression or recurrence. Yo u can weight that a little bit better with other known risk factors the melanoma was thinner, if it was not ulcerated, if there were fewer positive lymph nodes you're even more likely to not have the melanoma recur in that area. :28

Nelson says risks of removing lymph nodes include swelling in the affected region, called lymphedema, which can be painful and disfiguring, so avoiding this if possible is preferable. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.