Melanoma Increase
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

For years, experts have debated whether the dramatic rise in melanoma in recent years is a true increase or just a reflection of better and expanded screening. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looks at the subject in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

The increase in the potentially deadly skin cancer melanoma that has occurred over the last several decades canít be linked just to better screening and earlier detection of the cancer.

Stanford researchers looked at people in lower socioeconomic classes who typically donít have ideal access to health care and also took into account factors such as the severity or thickness of the melanoma tumors at diagnosis.

Researchers analyzed more than 70,000 new cases of malignant melanoma diagnosed from 1992 to 2004. They also looked at a smaller subset of nearly 30,000 cases from California.

They concluded that the rise in melanoma rates is at least partly due to a real increase. The study was published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

About 62,000 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed with 8,000 deaths in 2008.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone perform a skin self-exam once a month, consulting a dermatologist if they find worrisome symptoms, and get a professional skin exam yearly.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.