Lymph Nodes Test Helps Fight Melanoma

mole melanomaUsing so-called “sentinel node” biopsies to determine if melanoma has started
to spread saves some patients the pain of having all their lymph nodes removed,
U.S. researchers report.

The strategy can also give patients a
jump-start on aggressive treatment, they addrf.

There are few treatment options for
melanoma unless the disease is caught early. As a result, melanoma is one of the
deadliest cancers around.

However, patients whose lymph nodes tested
positive for cancer, and who had all their lymph nodes removed, had a much
higher five-year survival rate compared to those who tested positive but delayed
node removal.

These results should help make sentinel
node biopsy standard practice in dealing with this type of malignancy, said lead
researcher Dr. Donald L. Morton, medical director and chief of the melanoma
program at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint Johns Hospital in Santa Monica,
Calif.