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Dermatologists Encourage People to Screen the One You Love for Skin Cancer
Date:5/4/2009

r Evolving. A mole or skin lesion that is "Evolving" or changing in size, shape or color should be brought to the attention of a dermatologist. This is in addition to other characteristics of moles for which individuals should check their skin -- Asymmetry (one half unlike the other half), Border (irregular, scalloped or poorly defined), Color (varies from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue), and Diameter (the size of a pencil eraser or larger). A mole with any of these characteristics, or one that is an "ugly duckling", meaning it looks different from the rest, should be brought to a dermatologist's attention.

A new study published in Cancer (December 15, 2008) examining changes in melanomas diagnosed over 35 years found that melanomas were frequently described by patients as evolving lesions. In this collaborative study conducted at the NYU Langone Medical Center, dermatologist David Polsky, MD, PhD, FAAD, associate professor of dermatology and pathology and director of the Pigmented Lesion Clinic in the Ronald O. Perlman Department of Dermatology, and colleagues studied 1,684 prospectively enrolled patients diagnosed with 1,734 melanomas. They observed important differences in the clinical behavior of nodular melanomas (very rapidly growing melanomas) compared to superficial spreading melanomas (the most common type of melanoma).

Among the key findings, Dr. Polsky reported that more than 90 percent of patients with nodular melanoma reported a history of change in the lesion and these patients were more likely to be diagnosed with thicker, more dangerous tumors. By comparison, 80 percent of patients with superficial spreading melanoma indicated a slower pace of change in the lesion, and over time these lesions were diagnosed earlier in their evolut
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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