Melanoma Screening Strategies Examined

-- Rick Ansorge

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- In middle-aged and older men, new strategies are needed to foster the early detection and treatment of melanoma, according to two studies published in the April issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

In one study, Susan M. Swetter, M.D., of the Stanford University Medical Center in California, and colleagues surveyed 227 men ages 40 and older within three months of melanoma diagnosis, including 57 (25.1 percent) who had tumors thicker than 2 millimeters. They found that thinner melanomas were associated with physician discovery; a higher level of education, detection-promoting awareness and attitudes among patients; and the presence of clinically atypical nevi.

In a second study, the same group of researchers surveyed the same patients and found that men ages 65 and older that had physician detected melanoma had thinner tumors, comparable to younger patients with a self-detected or other-detected melanoma. They also found that 92 percent of all physician-detected back-of-the-body melanomas were smaller than 2 millimeters contrasted with 63 percent of self-detected lesions and 76 percent of lesions detected by other means.

"It is important for individuals, particularly those at an increased risk of developing skin cancer, to have regular skin examinations conducted by their dermatologist," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "However, more research is needed to evaluate the impact of training patients on how to conduct skin self-examinations in relation to improving early detection of melanoma among laypersons. In addition, examining physicians' ability to educate, train, and promote self-efficacy among their patients through brief interactions is also a promising area of future investigation."

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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