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Vulvar Melanoma Survival Better in Those Under Age 69

The five-year survival is 75 percent for those with localized disease

TUESDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Vulvar melanoma patients have a better five-year survival if they are younger, have localized disease and do not have lymph node involvement, according to a report in the August issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Valerie E. Sugiyama, M.D., and colleagues from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, examined data from 644 vulvar melanoma cases that occurred between 1973 and 2003, and were recorded in the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database.

The disease specific five-year survival for localized, regional and distant disease was 75.5 percent, 38.7 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively. For patients with lymph node involvement, the survival rates were 68.3 percent for zero nodes, 29 percent for one node and 19.5 percent for two or more positive nodes. The investigators did not find any survival differences in patients with local disease who received more conservative surgery compared with a radical approach.

"Our findings support the view that the biologic behavior of vulvar melanoma is similar to that of cutaneous melanomas of other sites," the authors conclude. "Patient management should consider the application of the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches used in cutaneous melanomas when appropriate."

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