Surgeries to Treat Melanoma

Surgeries to Treat Melanoma

Do you have a mole that is changing in size, shape or colour? You might be showing signs of melanoma! When left untreated, melanoma can spread to various parts of the body. This can lead to death. Melanoma can be treated with the help of different types of surgery. What are they? Read on…

Melanoma is a life threatening disease. 75% of the skin cancer deaths occur due to melanoma. The early the melanoma gets treated, the more are the chances of survival.

Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that occurs in the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is a pigment that gives colour to the skin. A change in the size, shape or colour of the mole can be a sign of melanoma. Moles with irregular borders, moles that are larger than a pencil eraser size etc can be signs of melanoma.

Generally melanoma occurs in people who live near the equator. It is usually found in northern Europeans and northwestern Europeans. It affects the body parts that are exposed to the sun. The parts include back, legs, arms etc. However melanoma can also occur in the soles of the feet, under finger nails and toe nails etc.

Melanoma can be diagnosed through physical examination, biopsy etc.

How is melanoma treated?

Melanoma is treated based on its degree of severity. When a melanoma is detected in its early stages, the doctor will just remove the mole and the part that is affected. It doesn’t require further treatment. When melanoma has spread beyond the skin, the doctor might suggest a surgery.

Types of surgery to treat melanoma

The doctor removes the tumor and surrounding tissue during a surgery. Generally surgery is recommended for the people with local melanoma and regional melanoma. However surgery can be suggested to people with metastatic melanoma.

There are different types of surgery to treat melanoma. They are as follows:

  1. Wide excision: In wide excision the doctor will remove the tumor along with some normal skin surrounding the tumor. The normal skin is removed to ensure that the cancer doesn’t spread. The more the thickness of melanoma the more will be the normal skin removed. After the surgery a skin flap or skin graft is used to cover the area. Skin flap is created by moving the nearby tissue to the area whereas skin graft is created by taking some skin from another part of the body to cover the area.
  2. Lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph node biopsy: This procedure is carried out to know if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. This treatment is carried out in patients who have melanomas with ulcers or who have melanomas measuring more than 1mm. The doctor can carry out this procedure when the patient has melanoma with higher mitotic rate.

In this procedure, the doctor removes a few sentinel lymph nodes and checks if cancer is present in them. If there is no cancer in the sentinel lymph nodes, no further surgery is required. However if the cancer has spread to the nearby lymph nodes, another surgery is required.

  1. Lymph node dissection: If the melanoma has infected the nearby lymph nodes then the doctor will suggest surgical removal of the remaining lymph nodes. This is called as lymph node dissection.

When left untreated melanoma can spread to the different parts of the body. This can lead to death. Hence, if you suffer from the symptoms of melanoma, consult a dermatologist online at eVaidya now!


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