Lymph Nodes Should Be Biopsied for More Melanomas | Melanoma Dispatch |

While standard for melanomas more than 1 millimeter (mm) thick, sentinel lymph node (SNL) biopsies are controversial for those that are thinner. But the latest research on 1,250 people with melanomas 1 mm or less suggests that the cutoff for SNL biopsies should be dropped to 0.75 mm. Moreover, tumor ulceration increases the urgency of SNL biopsies, doubling the risk that melanoma cells will spread to sentinel nodes (about 15% vs 6% for ulcerated and nonulcerated tumors, respectively). Positive SNLs guide doctors to treat melanoma more intensely, while negative SNLs spare people from anxiety, as well as from unnecessary follow-up care.