With Melanoma, Lymph Node Removal May Not Improve Survival

Source: The New York Times, June 2017

In cases of melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, doctors will determine its spread by examining a lymph node. If malignant cells are found, the standard treatment is to surgically remove all the lymph nodes in the same area.

But a clinical trial has called this procedure into question.

Researchers randomly assigned 1,939 melanoma patients with lymph node metastases to lymph node removal or continued observation using ultrasound. The study is in The New England Journal of Medicine.

After three years, there was no difference in survival between the two groups. But adverse events were more common in the group that had surgery.

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