SYDNEY, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers and melanoma patients have made a great contribution to an international study that is likely to improve the survival rate of the people diagnosed with the skin cancer, local media reported Friday.
The 20-year international study has recently been published by The New England Journal of Medicine.
The study found that melanoma patients would benefit from undergoing a sentinel lymph node biopsy.
In future, people with intermediate thickness melanomas will be told to have a sample taken from a lymph node that drains from the cancer site, according to the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
If the lymph node has evidence of cancer, removal of all the nodes in the area will be recommended.
John Thompson, professor of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology of the University of Sydney, co-author of the study, said this would stop the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body and increase the chance of 10-year survival by 44 percent.
Thompson said sentinel node biopsy was a simple treatment method, but it proved to be controversial.
"There is now excellent evidence in its favor, and this will lead to a change in the way patients are treated,"he told the AAP.
Thompson said it would take about a year for Australia's treatment guidelines to be changed, but doctors can start taking the study results into account now.