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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Pre-Melanoma Skin Lesion Found Mostly in Elderly Successfully Removed with Laser

Lentigo maligna disappears as carbon dioxide laser exerts its effect by vaporization of water-containing cells

Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

More information on this danger below news report.

Nov. 21, 2011 Removal of a precancerous skin lesion found primarily on senior citizens, lentigo maligna, may be successfully performed using a carbon dioxide laser, when surgery of radiation therapy is not feasible.

According to background information in the article, lentigo maligna (LM) is a common premalignant skin lesion typically seen in senior citizens with a history of chronic sun damage and it is commonly located in the head and neck region. The lesion may progress to LM melanoma (LMM), which has the same prognosis as other forms of melanoma.

This report appears in the November/December issue of the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Haemi Lee, M.D., and colleagues at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada, conducted a retrospective case series review of all patients with primary lentigo maligna diagnosed and treated in London, Ontario between July 2, 1991 and June 29, 2010.

 

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The researchers assessed outcomes in managing primary LM through surgical excision (removal), radiation therapy, and carbon dioxide laser ablation. The carbon dioxide laser exerts its effect on tissue by vaporization of water-containing cells.

Among 73 patients ages 39 to 93 years who chose treatment, 27 were treated with surgical excision, 31 were treated with radiation therapy, and 15 were treated with carbon dioxide laser ablation (removal).

The patients were followed an average of 16.6 months for surgical excision, 46.3 months for radiation therapy, and 77.8 months for carbon dioxide laser ablation.

"A trend toward lower recurrence rates with surgical excision and carbon dioxide laser ablation was identified, but the results were not statistically significant," the authors report.

The recurrence rates were 4.2 percent for surgical excision, 29 percent for radiation therapy, and 6.7 percent for carbon dioxide laser ablation.

"Although surgical excision is established as the gold standard of LM and LMM treatment, complete excision is not always feasible in large lesions of the head and neck," the authors write.

"The decision to perform complete excision in the setting of LM, a non-invasive disease, must weigh the benefits of excision against the morbidity of the procedure."

"Carbon dioxide laser ablation may be advantageous because it treats large lesions in cosmetically sensitive regions of the head and neck in a short period, with minimal morbidity," they conclude.


Skin cancer, close-up of lentigo maligna melanoma

Increased risk for skin cancer, especially melanoma, is associated with chronic exposure to sunlight, blistering sunburns, and a family history of skin cancer. (ADAM MedlinePlus)

About Melanoma Cancer

Wound where melanoma was removed from the head of a senior citizen.

Melanoma is caused by changes in cells called melanocytes, which produce a skin pigment called melanin. Melanin is responsible for skin and hair color. It can appear on normal skin, or it may begin as a mole or other area that has changed in appearance. Some moles that are present at birth may develop into melanomas.

There are four major types of melanoma:

   ● Superficial spreading melanoma is the most common type. It is usually flat and irregular in shape and color, with different shades of black and brown. It is most common in Caucasians.

   ● Nodular melanoma usually starts as a raised area that is dark blackish-blue or bluish-red. However, some do not have any color.

   ● Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in the elderly. It is most common in sun-damaged skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with areas of brown.

   ● Acral lentiginous melanoma is the least common form. It usually occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is more common in African Americans.

More at MedlinePlus

 

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