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

(D). This compares with 63.6 percent of the melanomas detected among individuals referred to the institution but not in the follow-up program.

In addition, 70 percent of melanomas diagnosed in the follow-up group were in situ (had not spread beyond the initial site), compared with 27.9 percent of those in the referred group. The Breslow indexa measure of tumor thicknesswas also lower among the melanomas diagnosed through the follow-up program. The follow-up cancers also tended to be diagnosed at earlier stages: 70 percent were diagnosed at stage zero and 30 percent at stage IA. Among the referral group, 27.9 percent were diagnosed at stage zero, 37.6 percent at stage IA, 12.7 percent at stage IB, 10.9 percent at stage II, 8.5 percent at stage III and 2.4 percent at stage IV.

"The inclusion of patients who are high risk for melanoma in follow-up programs allows the detection of melanoma in early stages, with good prognosis, even in the absence of clinical and dermoscopic features of melanoma," the authors conclude. "In the general population without specific surveillance, melanoma continues to be diagnosed at more advanced stages. Our findings suggest that current efforts in public and medical education might have no substantial effect in this group. Further strategies and educational programs may be needed to improve the early detection of these lesions. We believe that high-risk individuals, whenever proper resources are available, should be referred to melanoma centers or qualified institutions for regular follow-up."


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Contact: Susana Puig, M.D.
spuig@clinic.ub.es
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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