How serious is superficial melanoma in situs, and what kind of treatment is best?


Quick Answer

DermNet New Zealand Trust states that superficial spreading melanoma or melanoma in situ is the most common type of melanoma, and it can lead to serious skin cancer if left untreated. Treatment of melanoma in situ includes surgical excision and further observation by a physician.

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Full Answer

Superficial spreading melanoma is commonly referred to by doctors as melanoma in situ, in situ melanoma or stage 0 melanoma, notes Cancer Research UK. The Skin Cancer Foundation indicates that superficial spreading melanoma appears as a flat, irregularly shaped patch that develops at the upper skin layer for a long time before it develops into an invasive and aggressive type of melanoma.

According to DermNet New Zealand Trust, the initial treatment is excision biopsy, a procedure that involves cutting out the lesion and a surrounding margin. The specimen is sent to the laboratory, and the detailed pathologist’s report determines the next stage of treatment. The thickness and stage of the patient’s melanoma are part of the pathologist’s report. Cancer Research UK further explains that if the lesion is proven to be melanoma, a wide local excision is done by the surgeon, taking out up to 2 centimeters of normal tissue that surrounded the excised melanoma.

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