The German Cancer Society has worked out new guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma, a disease with unfavourable prognosis.
Malignant melanoma is responsible for 90% of deaths from skin cancer. The incidence has increased 5-fold within the last 30 years and UV radiation is thought to be an important cause. Caucasian populations are most affected.
Claus Garbe of Tübingen University and his co-authors present the therapy of melanoma in the current edition of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. Physicians should confirm the diagnosis by histopathology after complete surgical removal of the tumour.
The German Cancer Society recommends specific treatments or therapeutic combinations, depending on the thickness of the tumour and its stage. For example, if the tumour has more than a specific thickness, it is recommended that the primary tumour should be surgically removed, together with the sentinel lymph nodes and in combination with immunotherapy. If surgical removal is not possible, radiotherapy is indicated. If there are distant metastases, physicians should perform monochemotherapy.
(Source: German Cancer Society: January 2009)