Stopping Melanoma in Its Tracks

This year, one-point-five-million people will be diagnosed with cancer. The goal is to catch the disease before it spreads, increasing the odds of survival. Doctors developed a new kind of surgery that could help some patients stop melanoma in its tracks — with less risk of another trip to the hospital. Traditionally, removing lymph nodes from the thigh and groin area meant an eight to ten-inch incision and a 50-percent risk of complications. Doctor Keith Delman helped develop a new approach — instead of one big incision, he makes three half-inch incisions in the thigh. He fills the leg with air then goes under the skin to remove the lymph nodes, staying clear of vital structures. The new lymph node surgery was modified at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia where doctors have performed more than 40 of the procedures. So far, the procedure has shown a significant reduction in complications like infection and leg swelling compared to the standard open procedure.

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