Black skin cancer is the most malignant form of skin cancer. In the case of malignant skin cancer, we cut out the tumour in the first therapeutic step. We then measure the tumour thickness. The question behind this is how far the tumour has penetrated into the skin layers. The classification of the stage of the disease ("staging") is essential for further treatment.
Safe surgical removal of the tumour
We perform the removal of the tumour with a safety margin and using 3-D histology to ensure that no tumour tissue is left behind. In the case of larger operations, we then close the affected area without damaging the tissue (reconstructive defect closure). For this purpose we use techniques of skin stretching or displacement from the adjacent area. If necessary, we transplant skin from another area.
Patients with a superficial infestation are considered cured after surgical removal of the melanoma. From a thickness of more than one millimetre, we remove the sentinel lymph node in order to rule out the spread of tumour cells. This is the lymph node which is the first lymph node in the lymph drainage area of the melanoma. If the sentinel lymph node is not affected by metastases, no further treatment is necessary.
If we detect a malignant infestation, we remove all other lymph nodes in this region. At the same time, we use further imaging examinations to check whether the melanoma has spread, i.e. whether organs such as the lungs and liver may have metastases.
On the basis of these results the further treatment is determined. In this process, we consult together with all disciplines important for the treatment about the individual treatment strategy (tumour conference), in order to tailor each therapy exactly to the patient.