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Follow-up program helps detect melanoma earlier in high-risk patients
Date:1/17/2011

A follow-up program for patients at high risk of developing skin cancer appears to be associated with the detection of melanomas at early stages and with good prognosis, according to a report posted online today that will appear in the May print issue of Archives of Dermatology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Efforts to improve melanoma prognosis have focused on identifying and closely monitoring individuals at high risk, according to background information in the article. "Fair-skinned persons, persons who tan with difficulty, blond or red-haired persons and persons with blue eyes have more risk of developing melanoma than the general population," the authors write. "The presence of many pigmented lesions, including freckles and clinically typical or atypical nevi; intermittent sun exposure and severe sunburns, especially during childhood; and exposure to artificial UV-A radiation have all been associated with an increased risk of melanoma." Individuals with a personal or family history of melanoma are also at high risk.

Dermoscopya noninvasive diagnostic technique in which a clinician performs a microscopic evaluation of a skin lesionimproves the accuracy of melanoma diagnoses, the authors note. Gabriel Salerni, M.D., of Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomdiques August Pi I Sunyer, Barcelona, and colleagues analyzed data from 201 patients diagnosed with melanoma in one specialized unit, including 40 who were in a follow-up program for high-risk individuals and 161 who were referred for evaluation by another clinician. All melanomas diagnosed among these patients were evaluated by dermoscopy.

Most of the melanomas diagnosed in the follow-up program did not match clinical or dermoscopic features characteristic of melanoma. For example, only 12 percent fulfilled all four ABCD criteria outlined for melanoma detectionasymmetry (A), uneven borders (B), colors (C) and differential dermoscopic structures
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Contact: Susana Puig, M.D.
spuig@clinic.ub.es
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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