Surgical resection margins do not influence health related quality of life or emotional distress in patients with cutaneous melanoma: results of a prospective randomised trial.
ABSTRACT In a prospective randomised Scandinavian trial, patients with localised invasive cutaneous melanoma of the trunk or extremities with tumours more than 2 mm thick were randomly assigned to excision with narrow (2 cm) or wide (4 cm) margins after primary surgery. The aims of the present study were to find out if there were any differences in health-related quality of life (QoL) and emotional distress between patients in the two arms over time. Patients were assessed at four time points: before randomisation, and at 3, 9, and 15 months after inclusion, using the EORTC QLQ-C30, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Impact of Event Scale. A study-specific questionnaire was used to assess patient-reported problems related to the scar. A total of 144 patients were included; 70 randomised to narrow excision and 74 to wide excision margins. The response rate was >85% at all assessment points. No differences between the two arms were found for health-related QoL or emotional distress. Emotional functioning, insomnia, anxiety, intrusion, and avoidance improved over time (p <or= 0.0001). Thirty patients (32%) reported problems with the scar but there was no difference between the two arms. No differences in health-related QoL or emotional distress were found between the two arms, indicating that resection margins have limited impact on these variables.