Patients with melanoma in situ are treated by surgical removal of the lesion with the goal of obtaining minimal surgical margins that are free of any evidence of melanoma cells when examined under the microscope. Virtually all patients with melanoma in situ are cured following an adequate excision. The surgical guidelines for adequate excision are to remove the entire lesion (melanoma in situ) with a 0.5 cm margin of normal skin surrounding the lesion. This is confirmed by a pathologist who examines the removed specimen under the microscope. Inadequate excision of a melanoma in situ can lead to a recurrence of the lesion or progression in the area to a more advanced melanoma.1
For example, in one clinical study involving 121 patients with stage 0 melanoma, there were only 6 local recurrences (5%). Moreover, all local recurrences were treated successfully with more extensive surgery.1
1 Wagner JD, Gordon MS, Chuang TY, et al.: Current therapy of cutaneous melanoma. Plast Reconstr Surg 105 (5): 1774-99; quiz 1800-1, 2000.
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