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Sentinel node biopsy safe, effective in head and neck melanomas, U-M study finds
Date:8/5/2011

ed for melanomas in other parts of the body.

"Sentinel lymph node biopsy is a safe and effective way to determine the status of the regional nodal basin for melanomas affecting the head and neck region. Furthermore, our study showed that it can be done accurately for these patients," says study author Carol Bradford, M.D., professor and chair of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School.

The researchers also found that sentinel lymph node biopsy was the biggest predictor of how well a patient would do after surgery, including overall survival as well as recurrence-free survival.

"This procedure should be offered in patients with head and neck melanomas the same as patients with melanomas in other parts of the body. Not only is sentinel lymph node biopsy feasible and safe in these patients, but it helps determine the best course of treatment to offer patients the best hope of survival," Bradford says.

The authors stress the need for patients with head and neck melanoma to seek out a specialist in head and neck cancer surgery and sentinel lymph node biopsy. The Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center includes specialty surgeons highly skilled in performing this procedure.


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Contact: Nicole Fawcett
nfawcett@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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