Our services at a glance:
Proven dermatological surgery techniques for skin cancers in any location
Reconstructive plastic surgery
Sentinel lymph node biopsy
Sentinel lymph node removal is performed in the Dermatology Clinic's surgical unit, in collaboration with the Nuclear Medicine unit. The procedure involves injecting radioactive material into the area around the skin tumour in order to simulate the process of how tumour cells would be removed via the lymphatic system. This process identifies the sentinel lymph node, i.e. the first lymph node the cancer may drain into. This procedure is followed by gamma probe-guided surgery for exact sentinel lymph node localisation. Histological and immunohistological analyses of the lymph node will then determine whether tumour cells are already present inside the first lymph node. This is an important step in determining the spread of the cancer and where necessary can help decide on an appropriate course of treatment.
Histological and immunological skin issue analysis
Treatment for skin cancers
Squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas and malignant melanomas are the most common types of skin cancer. Approximately 130,000 new cases are being recorded every year, with cases increasing at a rate of 7 % per year.
Increasing exposure to UV radiation is the main reason for this increase, with increased exposure being due, in part, to the depletion of the ozone layer but also due to an increase in outdoor leisure time activities, including holidaying in countries with high solar UV radiation. As far as the risk factors for malignant melanoma are concerned, there is no clear association with total UV exposure. Instead, the disease appears to be linked to severe and frequent sunburns suffered as a child or teenager. A high number of moles on the body is another risk factor.
Malignant melanomas do not merely develop on skin that is exposed to the sun, but also on the back, stomach and limbs. Very rarely, malignant melanomas may also develop in locations that are difficult to see, such as under a nail, between the toes or on the mucous membranes.
Surgical treatment for skin cancers is performed in the Dermatology unit's surgical unit (Prof. Dr. E. Dippel), which comprises three operating theatres. The surgical removal of skin cancers is performed in accordance with the guidelines of the German Society of Dermatology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Dermatologie) and includes the safety margins stipulated therein. The term "microscopically controlled surgery" refers to the systematic histological search for tumour involvement along the margin of the excision site, which is performed to ensure that all tumour tissue has been removed. The excision site is then closed in a reconstructive plastic surgery procedure aimed at ensuring optimal visual appearance of the skin.
Topical chemotherapy treatment
Superficial basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas can be treated with topical chemotherapy ointments. This gentle, non-invasive procedure can also be used in the treatment of extensive areas of precancerous tissue and is commonly used to avoid a surgical intervention.
Topical treatment with interferon and other cytokines
Skin metastases originating from primary skin cancers can also be treated with interferon and other cytokines. This option is available when surgical removal is unrealistic as an option due to the number of tumours, or when a tumour cannot be removed completely.
Inpatient and outpatient chemotherapy and immunotherapy for malignant skin cancers
Adjuvant therapy refers to additional, precautionary therapy in cancers that are at an increased risk of metastasising. Adjuvant therapy commonly involves the use of interferon to delay or even prevent the reoccurrence of metastases.
Skin cancer treatment as part of clinical trials
The Skin Cancer Centre's current research interests focus on two major research areas, dermatologic surgery and dermatological oncology (in skin cancer). In addition to developing nail surgery, research is also being carried out to develop minimally invasive procedures for the removal of sentinel lymph nodes. Major advances are currently being made in drug-based therapy for skin cancer. Our skin cancer patients currently have access to a number of novel therapies which are being investigated in clinical studies, particularly for use in malignant melanoma and cutaneous lymphoma.
Treatment of cutaneous lymphoma
Photodynamic therapy of skin tumours and precancerous skin lesions
Argon plasma coagulation and laser therapy in tumours of the mucous membranes and precancerous lesions
Cancer follow-up treatment
Cooperation with the Ludwigshafen-based self-help group "Hautkrebs" (skin cancer)
This Ludwigshafen self-help group is affiliated with Ludwigshafen Hospital and works in cooperation with the Skin Cancer Centre. The self-help group, which is run by patients and supported by doctors from the Skin Cancer Centre, offers the following options and objectives:
- Advice for those looking for a self-help approach
- Information on skin cancer
- Signposting for those looking for further information on cancer
- Exchanging experiences with other patients
- Events aimed at cancer prevention and follow-up care
Ludwigshafen Self-Help Group "Skin Cancer"