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Survival Up With Surgery for Abdominal Melanoma Metastases

Surgical resection remains important treatment consideration, researchers say


THURSDAY, April 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with melanoma that has spread to the abdomen who get drug therapy and surgery to remove their cancer live twice as long -- 18 months on average -- as those who only get medication, according to a study published online April 5 in JAMA Surgery.

Gary Deutsch, M.D., M.P.H., a cancer surgeon at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed the medical records of 1,623 patients who had received systemic therapies for melanoma that had spread to the abdominal area. Of those, 392 had surgery to remove their cancer. Melanoma had spread to the liver in 697 patients, to the gastrointestinal tract in 336 patients, and to the adrenal glands in 138 patients. It spread to the spleen in 109 patients and to the pancreas in 38. Another 305 patients' cancer had spread to several organs.

The researchers found that for patients who had surgery to remove their melanoma, the average survival time was 18 months, nearly 2.5 times longer than those who didn't have surgery.

"Now that there are better options systemically, the decision making about treatment has become more complex. Having this data available could potentially impact discussions about treatment and benefit patients long-term," Deutsch said in a Northwell news release.

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