Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but as dermatologists we spend much of our time each day looking for it, because it is the most deadly. The good news is that when caught early, it is curable. The bad news is that the incidence of this tumor seems to be increasing.
Research shows 3.1% annual increase:
MedPage Today (5/11) reported that, according to a study presented at an investigative dermatology meeting, “the incidence of melanoma in the US increased rapidly over a 12-year period.” In their study, researchers from Stanford University Medical Center found that “from 1992 to 2004, the incidence of all thicknesses of melanoma increased from 18.2 per 100,000 to 26.3 per 100,000,” which represents an annual increase of 3.1 percent, with a total of 70,596 new cases being reported over the period.
The authors believe this represents a genuine increase in melanoma cases, not just a sign of better screening, because they found parallel increases across all socioeconomic groups and thicknesses, representing a true increase in clinically significant tumors.
Women and Men over 65 at highest risk:
Focusing only on non-Hispanic white subjects, in whom 90 percent of melanomas occur, the team found that cases involving women outnumbered those in men by a three-to-two margin, but the steepest increase and highest overall incidence occurred in men ages 65 years and older, with the rate rising from 73 to 126 new cases per 100,000.
What do we do?
Melanoma is often preventable. Here’s how:
Protect yourself (and your children) from excessive sun exposure.
Do self-exams every month (look for “new” or “changing” lesions)
Adults should be checked once a year by a dermatologist.
dults with risk factors (e.g. family history of melanoma or large number of moles) should be checked more often.
The Staff and Doctors at Minars Dermatology
In this issue
Research shows 3.1% annual increase
Woman and Men over 65 at highest risk: What do we do?
Our New Laser for Sun-Damage
We have been using a fractional CO2 laser for the last few years to treat wrinkles and sun damage. This laser resurfaces the skin. It has been such a success in our practice that instead of continuing to rent it, we just bought one. Read about it on our website, and make an appointment to see if you are a good candidate!