All treatment options will be discussed with you to determine the best way to treat the melanoma.
You may need a wide local excision, which is when a small amount of normal-looking tissue, known as a margin, from all around the area where the melanoma is/was, including underneath it, is removed. This is to make sure that no melanoma cells have been left behind and to reduce the chance of the melanoma coming back. If the melanoma is at an early stage, this is usually the only treatment that is needed and the chances of being cured are high.
The amount of tissue that is to be removed will depend on how far the melanoma has grown into the deeper layers of the skin and tissue.
The Australian Cancer Network guidelines for the surgical margins for wide local excision is as follows:
Melanoma in-situ or lentigo malignas = 5mm clearance on both sides of the tumour.
Melanoma 0 to 2 mm thick = 10mm clearance on both sides of the tumour.
Melanoma greater than 2mm thick = 20mm clearance on both sides of the tumour.
Patients with melanoma that is 1mm or thicker may also require further tests to determine if the melanoma has spread to the lymph nodes.
The size of the area to be removed will determine if this procedure is able to be done at the clinic under local anaesthetic or if it needs to be done under general anaesthetic in hospital. If the wound is too big to stitch together, you may need to have a skin graft or a skin flap to repair the wound.