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Tuesday, February 16. 2010

Melanoma Incidence is Rising Again.

Early this year I lost a dear friend to Malignant Melanoma. It was a terrible thing to see a good friend and fellow physician lose the battle with this terrible condition.

Melanoma rates are rising very fast; it’s an epidemic.  According to the most recent National Cancer Institute in 2009 there were 68,720 newly diagnosed cases of invasive melanoma and 53,120 cases of in situ (very early and confined to top layer of the skin) melanoma in the United States. These numbers are expected to increase in 2010.

Don’t forget the A,B,C,D,E of melanoma.

A) Asymmetry: Moles with significant asymmetry are trouble

B)Irregular Border

C) Multi Color: Red next to black, next to clear

D) Diameter greater than 6mm (equal to back of a pencil erasure)

E) Evolution: A mole than changes

 Ask to be referred to a dermatologist  for yearly skin check. Make sure that you get a complete skin exam and point out any new or changed spots to your doctor.

Just last week I saw a patient for consultation on Rosacea. After the Rosacea treatment options were discussed I asked her to change into a gown for a body check.  The Melanoma I found on her right lower leg was still in situ. She had not noticed it before.


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