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Sentinel Node Lymph Biopsy for melanoma - yes or no?

(4 Posts)
Warandpeas Tue 10-Dec-19 19:50:23

My DM (68) has just been diagnosed with Stage 1B melanoma on her arm. She’s had most of it taken off and is waiting for the wide level excision to remove a larger margin.

Her consultant offered her the Sentinel Node Lymph Biopsy, but said it made no difference overall to her chance of survival. My DM declined. I’m now worried that she may have cancerous cells in her lymph nodes but not be aware, and concerned that leaving this to progress will out her at greater risk of harm down the line. I can’t understand why you wouldn’t have an early detection test, or why the consultant seemed to be ambivalent about it.

Has anyone been through a similar situation and can advise?

OP’s posts: |
daisypond Tue 10-Dec-19 20:05:07

My DH has had melanoma diagnosed twice, and was told similar to what you have heard. It is a scary time. He decided to have the sentinel node biopsy.
From one info leaflet:
The purpose of the operation is not to cure the cancer. There is no good evidence that people who have the operation live longer than people who do not have it.
The operation can help predict what might happen in the future. For example, in people with a primary melanoma that is between 1 and 4mm thick:
Around 1 out of 10 die within 10 years if the sentinel lymph node biopsy is negative.
Around 3 out of 10 die within 10 years if the sentinel lymph node biopsy is positive.
The result needs to be interpreted with caution. Of every 100 people who have a negative sentinel lymph node biopsy, around 3 will subsequently develop a recurrence in the same group of lymph nodes.

daisypond Tue 10-Dec-19 20:10:13

It might be worth posting on one of the cancer support threads for other opinions.

Warandpeas Tue 10-Dec-19 21:09:35

Thanks. @daisypond how do I find the most appropriate cancer support thread to post on?

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