If you have recently been diagnosed with melanoma, you are not alone. Melanoma impacts 20% of Americans at some point during their lifetime and, in recent years, those numbers have been slowly increasing. Fortunately, more than nine out of ten people in the United States diagnosed and treated for melanoma are alive five years later. Therefore, it is easy to see why early detection and treatment, including surgery, is so important. Here are some things to be aware of if you have been diagnosed with melanoma and are facing surgical removal options.
#1-If You Receive A Wide Excision
It is not unusual for a wide excision to be the only procedure that you may need, especially if the melanoma was detected early and localized to a smaller area of your skin. It is often surprising to learn that removing a melanoma does not allow for just the growth to be removed. Instead, your surgeon will need to remove additional tissue from under the skin and healthy tissue that is adjacent to the melanoma. By doing so, it is easier to be sure that all of the cancer was removed.
The amount of healthy skin that will be removed depends on the size of the melanoma. In general, larger growths will require larger amounts of skin to be removed. A wide excision is usually the least invasive surgical procedure. If it is necessary to remove a large amount of skin, your doctor may suggest stretching nearby skin to cover the missing areas or using skin that was otherwise grafted to reduce any obvious scarring and abnormalities.
#2-Perhaps A Mohs Procedure Has Been Recommended
One controversial option for removing a melanoma is known as Mohs Surgery. This option is unique because instead of removing multiple layers of skin, very thin layers of skin are removed and each is examined for cancer.
Mohs surgery allows for the removal of melanoma without damaging as much of the surrounding tissue as other procedures might. It is particularly appropriate when the melanoma has been diagnosed on the face or if the cancer is at a higher risk of re-occurring later.
#3-If There Is Concern About The Melanoma Spreading
In some cases, you will find that the surgeon needs to remove one or more of your lymph nodes. In that instance, he or she will usually remove a lymph node that is closest to the melanoma.
By removing a lymph node, it is typically possible to determine if the cancer has spread or remained localized within the growth that was already removed. In addition, it is important to note that your surgeon may perform this procedure at the same time as the removal for the melanoma. Conversely, it may also be necessary due to the results of the melanoma removal, so it is very possible that you could need more than one procedure.
In conclusion, skin cancer surgery is typically the first line of defense, and in some cases, you may need chemotherapy, radiation or additional surgeries to completely treat the problem. Obviously, surgical removal of your skin cancer can be more than a little intimidating and, as a result, it is crucial to be informed about your skin cancer surgery.
For more information and options, talk with a local clinic that offers skin cancer treatment, such as Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center.