Dr. Fred Azimi

Melanoma

If treated early, melanoma has an excellent prognosis. There have been dramatic improvements in treatments of advanced melanoma over the last ten years.

Most melanomas can be treated with local surgery

Melanoma is the most common cancer in Australia and our nation has one of the highest incidences of melanoma in the world.

Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops from skin surface cells called melanocytes. When these cells grow in an uncontrolled way a melanoma develops.

Luckily most melanomas can be treated with local surgery. Melanomas treated in the early stage of disease can have excellent outcomes with surgery alone.

People with more advanced melanoma disease may require treatment that includes multiple different therapies.

There have been many great advances in the treatments of melanoma in recent years. This means that the outcomes for melanoma patients with advanced disease has greatly improved.

This procedure involves removing the melanoma or the scar from previous biopsy with a margin of normal tissue to reduce the chance of the recurrence. This usually involves a margin of 1-2cm around the site of the melanoma.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a procedure that allows us to assess the lymph nodes that are related to a melanoma. This sentinel lymph node is the first node or group of lymph nodes that filter lymphatic fluid from a particular portion of the body. The procedure is carried if the melanoma has a moderate to high risk of spreading. This is done at the same time as a wide local excision.

The procedure given us a valuable information on your disease stage and helps to guide the management of your melanoma.

This operation involves removal of all the lymph nodes in region that may be involved with a melanoma.

The most common areas that require lymph node dissection in melanoma are the axilla (armpit), the groin and the neck.

In the past it was routine for patients with disease in the ‘sentinel lymph nodes’ to have a lymph node dissection. Based on the result of a major international trail, this is no longer routinely indicated. 

Lymph node dissection may be performed in those patients that have lymph node disease identified on clinical examination and this is usually done in conjunction with systemic therapy.