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Melanoma Surgery Gets Broader Scope

Posted: September 29, 2006

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The researchers randomly assigned 60% of the patients to get sentinel node biopsy. Patients with cancerous sentinel nodes had all the other lymph nodes near the sentinel nodes removed.

The remaining 40% of the patients got careful checkups every few months, without sentinel node biopsy. They kept all of their lymph nodes unless doctors suspected cancer's spread, which happened months or even years later.

Why not just automatically remove all lymph nodes closest to a melanoma? Doing so could have complications and offers no advantage if those nodes are cancer-free.

Study's Results

The researchers followed the patients for five years.