The surgical management of metastatic melanoma.
When deciding whether or not to perform a resection for metastatic melanoma, one should follow general principles that apply to the patient with melanoma as well as to the patient with metastases from other types of primary tumors. When the resection is palliative, the success of surgical treatment will be governed by the presence of identifiable symptoms, the morbidity of the procedure, the course of the disease, and the ability to communicate treatment goals among surgeon, patient, and family. When the resection is performed with curative intent, long-term survival depends on the ability of the surgeon to select patients with a pattern of recurrence suggestive of a less aggressive tumor biology. Regardless of the extent of the operative procedure, resection of metastases in patients whose disease recurs early after the treatment of the primary tumor, in those who present with multiple lesions, and in those who present with disease that cannot be completely resected will only rarely be associated with subsequent long-term survival.
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