Skin Cancer (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Small lesions may be removed through a variety of techniques, including simple excision (cutting it away), electrodesiccation and curettage (burning the tissue with an electric needle), and cryosurgery (freezing the area with liquid nitrogen).
Larger tumors, lesions in high-risk locations, recurrent tumors, and lesions in cosmetically sensitive areas are removed by Mohs micrographic surgery. The surgeon carefully removes tissue, layer by layer, until cancer-free tissue is reached.
Malignant melanoma is treated more aggressively than just surgical removal. To ensure the complete removal of this dangerous malignancy, 1-2 cm of normal-appearing skin surrounding the tumor is also removed. In some cases, when available, the removal is accomplished using Mohs micrographic surgery. Depending on the thickness of the melanoma, neighboring lymph nodes may also be removed and tested for cancer. The sentinel node method uses a mildly radioactive substance to identify which lymph nodes are most likely to be affected.
Michael S Lehrer, MD
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