JOURNAL ARTICLE
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A survey of hospital management practices for vulvar melanoma.

BACKGROUND: Vulvar melanoma is a very rare form of cancer. The purpose of this study was to describe practice patterns for the management of vulvar melanoma.

STUDY DESIGN: The National Cancer Data Base was reviewed from 1985 through 1994 for patient reports submitted with a diagnosis of vulvar melanoma.

RESULTS: Five hundred sixty-nine patients with vulvar melanoma were identified. A substantial number of patients were older; during the latter period of this study (1990 to 1994), 50% were 70 years old or older. Surgery was used in more than 90% of patients with stages 0 to III. Local excision was used mainly in early-stage (0 and I) disease. Adjuvant therapy was used infrequently. Lymph node evaluation was performed in more than half of the patients, with greater frequency for patients who had advanced disease. The overall 5-year relative survival rate was 62%. If the lymph nodes contained metastases, survival was poor. Patients with recurrent disease also had poor survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgery remains the mainstay of therapy for vulvar melanoma. The use of excision and radical operations remained constant during the 10 years of the study.

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