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Surgery is the main form of melanoma treatment. When skin cancer is detected early, surgery can be curative and might be the only type of treatment a patient needs. However, when melanoma is found after it has started to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body, a patient might require additional forms of treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, in addition to a melanoma surgery.
A wide excision is the most common form of surgery for stage 1 and 2 melanoma. This procedure is designed to remove a melanoma lesion, as well as a small margin of healthy skin around it. Usually, this is a fairly minor surgery; the skin is numbed before the cancer is removed and the incision is stitched closed after the procedure is complete.
Although most melanomas can be removed through wide excision, other types of melanoma surgery include:
- Lymph node dissection, in which the lymph nodes closest to the melanoma are surgically removed if signs of cancer were found during a sentinel node biopsy
- Amputation, which is very rarely necessary, but may be required in the unlikely event that a melanoma has grown extensively through a patient’s finger or toe
Moffitt Cancer Center provides patients with a complete range of melanoma surgery options, from traditional excisions to more advanced operations. We have a team of expert surgeons who specialize in the removal of skin cancers, and each patient receives an individualized treatment plan that is tailored to his or her exact needs. Furthermore, we offer surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and clinical trials in a single location, providing a streamlined experience when more than one type of treatment is required.