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Melanoma Surgery Gets Broader Scope

Posted: September 29, 2006
Melanoma surgery may get more aggressive to help plan treatment and ultimately improve survival.

A study and editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine support checking the "sentinel" lymph node near melanoma for signs of cancer.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, with more than 53,600 new cases per year diagnosed in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

The body's lymph system makes, stores, and carries white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases. Lymph nodes are part of the lymph system; they're clustered around the body.

Cancer can spread to lymph nodes. It usually first shows up in one or two "sentinel" nodes that are closest to the cancer site.