Cutaneous head and neck melanoma: the old and the new

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Abstract

The incidence rate of malignant melanoma has shown a rapid worldwide rise in recent years. The staging and management of head and neck melanoma presents some unique challenges. Surgery remains the cornerstone of treatment, while sentinel node biopsy is the most accurate staging modality for regional disease. The complex regional anatomy and lymphovascular drainage of this region may account for the increased biologic aggressiveness and treatment challenges of this disease. Improved understanding of the radiobiology of melanoma has resulted in new adjuvant radiotherapy approaches, yielding improved control rates. The treatment outcomes of metastatic head and neck melanoma remain disappointing but important progress has been made in the understanding of melanoma biology.

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