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Surgeons report melanoma recurs after 10 years in more than 6 percent of patients
Date:6/27/2013

ercent) of the 4,731 patients showed a late recurrence.

"It appears the risk of melanoma recurrence is never completely gone," Dr. Faries said. "One change that should result from our study is that people need to be followed up for life with a physician after a diagnosis of melanoma."

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 76,700 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year according to 2013 estimates, with more men affected than women.*

The new study findings, however, showed that late melanoma recurrence was less male-predominant than in patients whose cancer recurred within the first three years. Although 66 percent of 3,127 patients with an early melanoma recurrence were men, only 57 percent of the 408 patients with a late recurrence were male, the investigators reported. This difference may be because initially "melanoma behaves worse in men than in women, although no one knows why," he said.

The researchers note other differences existed between patient groups. Namely, patients whose melanoma did not come back until at least 10 years later were younger, on average, than those with an early recurrence: 41 versus 51 years old.

In addition, compared with the early-recurrence group, patients with a late recurrence tended to have had an original melanoma with characteristics indicating a more favorable disease outcome. Specifically, their original tumor was more likely to have been thin and nonulcerated (meaning that the skin over the melanoma had not broken down), not have spread to the lymph nodes, and occurred at a site other than the head and neck.

Although the investigators found that late-recurring melanomas were more likely to develop in a site on the body distant from the original site, this group of patients had a better post-recurrence survival rate. Compared with patients whose cancer returned within three years, patients with a late recurrence were about 40 percent less
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Contact: Dan Hamilton
pressinquiry@facs.org
312-202-5328
American College of Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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