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How Is Melanoma In Situ Treated

Supplement Moh’s Surgery And Staged Serial Excision

Melanoma In Situ and Melanoma Treatment and My Experience

A large prospective study assessed complete clearance of 1120 melanomas in situ excised by Mohs micrographic surgery with frozen-section examination of the margin. Six millimetre margins were adequate for complete clearance in 86% of all tumours 9 mm margins were adequate for complete clearance in 98.9% of all tumours. A 1.2 cm margin yielded 99.4% clearance, 1.5 cm margin yielded 99.6% clearance, and 3 cm margin yielded 100% clearance. The authors state that the frequently recommended 5 mm margin for melanoma is inadequate. Standard surgical excision of melanoma in situ should include 9 mm of normal-appearing skin, similar to that recommended for early invasive melanoma. This study includes a mixture of cases of melanoma in situ, both LM and non-lentigo maligna type, and it is possible that LM requires a wider margin than other melanomas in situ.

A retrospective review of 192 cases of melanoma in situ found that LM required wider margins for complete excision than did non-lentigo maligna melanoma in situ.

In a study of 51 cases of facial LM and thin LMM, with LMM present in nine lesions , peripheral margin control was performed with repeated margin excision until histological clearance of the lesion. Margins required for clearance of LM and LMM averaged 1.0 and 1.3 cm, respectively. No recurrences were identified with long-term follow-up. Immediate reconstruction was performed in all cases.

What Is The Treatment For Melanoma In Situ

Treatment options involve surgical excision which aims to remove cancerous tissue plus a small quantity of healthy skin to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. Adequate clearance is confirmed by histology whereby excised skin is studied in a laboratory environment under a microscope. This is the standard treatment regimen for melanoma in situ plus close monitoring and follow-ups of the patient to detect any progression of the disease. Melanoma which has metastasized thereby affecting other parts of the body requires more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Treatment Of Stage Ii Melanoma

For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section.

Treatment of stage II melanoma may include the following:

Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done. General information about clinical trials is also available.

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What Are The Recommended Safety Margins For Radical Excision Of A Primary Melanoma

Cite this page

Sladden, M, Lyndal Alchin, Professor Omgo Nieweg, Dr Julie Howle, Coventry, B, Cancer Council Australia Melanoma Guidelines Working Party. Clinical question:What are the recommended safety margins for radical excision of primary melanoma?/In situ . In: Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of melanoma. Sydney: Melanoma Institute Australia. . Available from: .

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  • Melanoma Recurrence Beyond The Original Site

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    Melanoma recurrences can also result when there is melanoma growth beyond the area originally removed by surgery, sometimes in nearby lymph nodes or other areas of tissue. Melanomas also can be spread by the bloodstream, resulting in new areas of re-growth. If a melanoma is going to recur, it will usually recur within the first two to five years after the original diagnosis and treatment. Patients having a local recurrence are strongly at risk of recurrence elsewhere in the body.

    Factors that increase the risk of a recurrence are:

    • Thicker original melanomas, especially if located on the head, neck, hands and feet.
    • Presence of ulceration in the original melanoma
    • Lymph nodes positive for melanoma

    Because of the high prevalence of metastasis, patients with local or regional recurrences of melanoma should have a physical examination and and imaging scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. The scan will take detailed, cross-sectional images of tissue. The scanning can be with a high-quality CT scan or with a combined PET-CT scan. Johns Hopkins nuclear medicine specialists have studied the application of combined positron emission tomography scanning with CT scanning to detect recurrent melanoma.

    Surgery remains the first-line treatment for local and regional recurrences. Lymph node metastasis detected by physical examination or scanning may be treated by complete surgical removal of regional lymph nodes .

    Other treatments occasionally appropriate include:

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    Treating Stage 0 Melanoma

    Stage 0 melanoma has not grown deeper than the top layer of the skin . It is usually treated by surgery to remove the melanoma and a small margin of normal skin around it. The removed sample is then sent to a lab to be looked at with a microscope. If cancer cells are seen at the edges of the sample, a second, wider excision of the area may be done.

    Some doctors may consider the use of imiquimod cream or radiation therapy instead of surgery, although not all doctors agree with this.

    For melanomas in sensitive areas on the face, some doctors may use Mohs surgery or even imiquimod cream if surgery might be disfiguring, although not all doctors agree with these uses.

    What Are The Stages Of Melanoma

    Very rapid skin changes are often far less concerning than those materialising over the passage of time. Actual confirmation of melanoma is undertaken via biopsy. A tiny segment is removed for specialist analysis. A positive corroboration is accompanied by a benchmark of severity simply referred to as Stages I-IV, the latter being the most serious. Stage labelling allows the doctor to understand the progression of the disease and determine the most efficacious interventions. The first three stages refer to the depth of melanoma within the skin, size and possible ulceration. Only Stage IV indicates that the illness has spread to other organs.

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    What Is The Most Likely Prognosis Of Melanoma In Situ

    Melanoma originates in the skin cells and is therefore frequently visible unlike other forms of cancer which remain invasive and hidden. Melanoma derives its name from melanin, a darkish brown or black pigment present in the skin, hair and eyes in both people and mammals. Melanin controls the skins tanning response via Melanocytes, the skins pigment cells. To create melanoma, there is usually an external trigger, for instance, commonly persistent sunburn or just continuous quantities of UV light. Ethnically, Caucasian people are at greater risk than those with darker skin tones such as people of African or Hispanic heritage.

    There Are Different Types Of Cancer That Start In The Skin

    Skin Cancer Melanoma in situ

    There are two main forms of skin cancer: melanoma and nonmelanoma.

    Melanoma is a rare form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body than other types of skin cancer. When melanoma starts in the skin, it is called cutaneous melanoma. Melanoma may also occur in mucous membranes . This PDQ summary is about cutaneous melanoma and melanoma that affects the mucous membranes.

    The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They are nonmelanoma skin cancers. Nonmelanoma skin cancers rarely spread to other parts of the body.

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    Histological Peripheral Margins And Recurrence Of Melanoma In Situ Treated With Wide Local Excision

    Francisco S. Moura

    1Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Royal Preston Hospital, PR29HT, Fulwood, UK


    1. Introduction

    Cutaneous melanoma is one of the fastest rising cancer diagnoses in recent years . This is owed to an aging population and increased exposure to risk factors including sun exposure and immunosuppression . Melanoma in situ is a noninvasive lesion that accounts for up to 27% of all melanomas and its incidence is increasing faster compared to invasive melanoma.

    MIS is characterized by an increased number of atypical intraepidermal melanocytes . This entity represents a precursor of invasive melanoma. Lentigo maligna is the most common subtype of MIS accounting for 79% to 83% of all MIS tumors . It is associated specifically with chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation and primarily affects the head and neck region.

    This study aims to evaluate the impact of the histological peripheral clearance margins of MIS on the recurrence and progression to invasive disease when treated with WLE. The novelty of this study is the heterogeneity of the study population. In addition to those patients that present with their first episode of MIS, prior studies have not incorporated cases that are treated as MIS in which the histology reports a potential regression and/or focus of invasion, as well as those that present with a recurrence of MIS.

    2. Methodology

    3. Results

    4. Discussion


    5. Conclusion


    Data Availability


    There Are Three Ways That Cancer Spreads In The Body

    Cancer can spread through tissue, the lymph system, and the blood:

    • Tissue. The cancer spreads from where it began by growing into nearby areas.
    • Lymph system. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the lymph system. The cancer travels through the lymph vessels to other parts of the body.
    • Blood. The cancer spreads from where it began by getting into the blood. The cancer travels through the blood vessels to other parts of the body.

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    Signs Of Melanoma Include A Change In The Way A Mole Or Pigmented Area Looks

    These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by melanoma or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

    • A mole that:
    • changes in size, shape, or color.
    • has irregular edges or borders.
    • is more than one color.
    • is asymmetrical .
    • itches.
    • oozes, bleeds, or is ulcerated .
  • A change in pigmented skin.
  • Satellite moles .
  • For pictures and descriptions of common moles and melanoma, see Common Moles, Dysplastic Nevi, and Risk of Melanoma.

    Unusual Moles Exposure To Sunlight And Health History Can Affect The Risk Of Melanoma

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    Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk.

    Risk factors for melanoma include the following:

    • Having a fair complexion, which includes the following:
    • Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.
    • Blue or green or other light-colored eyes.
    • Red or blond hair.
  • Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight .
  • Being exposed to certain factors in the environment . Some of the environmental risk factors for melanoma are radiation, solvents, vinyl chloride, and PCBs.
  • Having a history of many blistering sunburns, especially as a child or teenager.
  • Having several large or many small moles.
  • Having a family history of unusual moles .
  • Having a family or personal history of melanoma.
  • Being White.
  • Having a weakened immune system.
  • Having certain changes in the genes that are linked to melanoma.
  • Being White or having a fair complexion increases the risk of melanoma, but anyone can have melanoma, including people with dark skin.

    See the following PDQ summaries for more information on risk factors for melanoma:

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    Melanoma At Its Most Curable

    Our authors recent research shows that melanoma in situ, the earliest form of the disease, is on the rise, especially among young men. Heres why this is bad news and good news, and what everyone needs to know to stay ahead of it.


    Growing up in Texas, Jim was no stranger to sun exposure. A year-round athlete, he also spent many summers landscaping, and he was proud of his golden bronze tan. To achieve this look, he purposely burned during his first intense sun exposure in spring, thinking that would be a good start on maintaining a tan through the summer. He even frequented tanning salons during the winter to keep it going.

    When Jims mother noticed a spot on his cheek shed never seen before, she pointed it out to him. It was dark brown, about the size of a pencil eraser, and it had an irregular shape. At first glance, it looked like a new freckle or mole. When it continued to grow, Jim became worried and visited a dermatologist. Just 29 years old, he was shocked when tests showed he had melanoma, a cancer that arises in the skins pigment-producing cells.

    He was lucky, though. It was melanoma in situ: The tumor had not invaded beyond the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The earliest form of melanoma , it is the easiest to treat and almost always curable. If Jim had waited any longer before seeing the doctor, it could have been much worse.

    How Is Melanoma In Situ Treated

    Melanoma in situ is treated by excision biopsy. A special tissue-sparing technique may be used for a large melanoma in situ, such as Mohs micrographic surgery or staged mapped excisions .

    When surgical margins are narrow, a second surgical procedure is undertaken, including a 510mm clinical margin of normal skin, to ensure complete removal of the melanoma. This is known as wide local excision.

    Non-surgical options may be considered in selected cases of melanoma in situ where surgery is contraindicated, including imiquimod cream , intralesional interferon-alpha, radiation therapy, and laser therapy. Recurrence rates are high with these second-line treatments.

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    Patients May Want To Think About Taking Part In A Clinical Trial

    For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment.

    Many of today’s standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment.

    Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future. Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward.

    Permission To Use This Summary

    Lobular Carcinoma In Situ Systemic Therapy Options

    PDQ is a registered trademark. The content of PDQ documents can be used freely as text. It cannot be identified as an NCI PDQ cancer information summary unless the whole summary is shown and it is updated regularly. However, a user would be allowed to write a sentence such as NCIs PDQ cancer information summary about breast cancer prevention states the risks in the following way: .

    The best way to cite this PDQ summary is:

    PDQ® Adult Treatment Editorial Board. PDQ Melanoma Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Updated < MM/DD/YYYY> . Available at: . Accessed < MM/DD/YYYY> .

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    What Are The Average Margins Removed With Melanoma In Situ

    Currently, surgeons will harvest approximately 5mm of unaffected skin around the lesion. This became a documented industry standard in 1992. Evidence is increasingly demonstrating that this amount is conservative but no scientific data exists to suggest a more appropriate alternative.

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    Despite cutting edge technology pun intended! so bright lighting, something called Woods lighting which is black light invisible to the naked eye and, the enhancement of magnification the clinician cannot take the risk that he has missed a tiny portion of cancerous cells, undetectable with the naked eye. Thus, the debate over accurate and beneficial margins in cases of melanoma in situ continues to rage amongst the medical profession. Most sufferers want the minimal loss of skin for cosmetic reasons but fear the return of cancer more.

    Five Types Of Standard Treatment Are Used:


    Surgery to remove thetumor is the primary treatment of all stages of melanoma. A wide local excision is used to remove the melanoma and some of the normal tissue around it. Skin grafting may be done to cover the wound caused by surgery.

    Sometimes, it is important to know whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph node mapping and sentinel lymph node biopsy are done to check for cancer in the sentinel lymph node . It is the first lymph node the cancer is likely to spread to from the primary tumor. A radioactive substance and/or blue dye is injected near the tumor. The substance or dye flows through the lymphducts to the lymph nodes. The first lymph node to receive the substance or dye is removed. A pathologist views the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are found, more lymph nodes will be removed and tissue samples will be checked for signs of cancer. This is called a lymphadenectomy. Sometimes, a sentinel lymph node is found in more than one group of nodes.

    After the doctor removes all the melanoma that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Chemotherapy given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.


    The way the chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

    See Drugs Approved for Melanoma for more information.

    Radiation therapy

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