Melanoma (also called malignant melanoma or cutaneous melanoma) accounts for only about 4% of all cases of skin cancer, but causes 79% of deaths from skin cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 47,700 new cases of melanoma will occur in the United States in the year 2000.
It is well known that solar radiation leads to the development of skin cancers. When sunlight penetrates the top layers of the skin, ultraviolet (UVA or UVB) radiation damages the DNA inside skin cells.
The incidence of melanoma has increased over the past several decades from a 1:1,500 lifetime risk in 1935 to a 1:75 lifetime risk in 2000. While the cause of this is not known, it is known that depletion of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere has increased the amount of damaging ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth.
Prevention is the most important aspect of care. Education regarding protection from sun exposure is the best method to prevent the development of skin cancers.
Once melanoma has developed, early detection and treatment are key to a successful outcome. Melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages.
Treatment may include a combination of Surgery, Chemotherapy, Chemotherapeutic Regional Perfusion, Radiation Therapy, Immunotherapy, and Chemoimmunotherapy.
The Medifocus Guide on Melanoma provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
What are the most common symptoms of melanoma?
Are there any recognized risk factors for developing melanoma?
What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of melanoma?
What is the current standard of care for the treatment of melanoma?
What treatment options are available for the management of melanoma?
Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in melanoma?
Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for melanoma?
What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about melanoma?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
Serological markers for melanoma. British Journal of Dermatology. 2000
Problematic pigmented lesions: approach to diagnosis. Journal of Clinical Pathology. 2000
Do high factor sunscreens offer protection from melanoma?. Western Journal of Medicine. 2000
The state-of-the-art in chemoprevention of skin cancer. European Journal of Cancer. 2000
Cutaneous melanoma of the head and neck: advances in evaluation and treatment. Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 2000
Natural and induced human antibody response to cancer. Cancer Investigation. 2000
Update on familial cancer syndromes and the skin. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2000
Melanoma in children. Cutis. 2000
Sentinel lymph node mapping for patients with cutaneous and conjunctival malignant melanoma. Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 2000
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