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Early Detection of Melanoma Plus Regular Skin Exams is Vital For Beating Disease
Date:5/4/2009

Dermatologists Offer Advice for Reaching Five-Year Survival Mark

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., May 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On television's popular "Grey's Anatomy," Dr. Izzie Stevens faces a grim diagnosis: stage IV metastatic melanoma. As the drama unfolds, viewers get a glimpse at why patients with the deadliest form of skin cancer -- in the most advanced stage of diagnosis -- face a mere 10-month median survival rate. In real life, this type of prognosis is devastating and leaves melanoma patients with few options for beating this disease that claims the life of one American almost every hour (every 62 minutes). But dermatologists agree that when melanoma is diagnosed in its earliest, most treatable stages, time is on your side.

Dermatologist Gary S. Rogers, MD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, and dermatologist Jason K. Rivers, MD, FAAD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, reviewed the most common treatments for the different stages of melanoma and offered suggestions for melanoma patients aiming for their five-year survival mark.

Melanoma Treatments Vary Depending on Stage

When detected in its earliest stages (stage 0 - stage I), melanoma is highly curable. In fact, the American Cancer Society estimates that the average five-year survival rate for individuals whose melanoma is localized and has not spread beyond the outer layers of the skin is 99 percent. Dr. Rogers explained that for patients diagnosed with a stage 0 or stage I melanoma, a routine, typically office-based surgical proced
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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