More than half of melanomas are self-detected
José Antonio Avilés-Izquierdo, Ph.D., from Hospital General Universitario "Gregorio Marañón" in Madrid, and colleagues examined who first detects melanoma in a study involving 783 patients diagnosed with cutaneous melanoma between 1996 and 2012. The authors assessed correlations between who noticed the melanoma, epidemiology, clinical presentation, histology, and patient outcomes.
The researchers found that 53 percent of melanomas were self-detected. Bleeding, itching/pain, and/or nodule enlargement were the reasons for consulting in 32 percent of these patients. More melanomas were self-detected among women, with better prognosis. Compared with women, men had significantly more melanomas in non-easily visible locations. Eighty percent of melanomas noticed by dermatologists were incidental findings. Self-detected melanomas were thicker and more often ulcerated, developed metastases more frequently, and correlated with more melanoma-related deaths.
"Patients with melanomas that were self-detected by women had better prognoses than those that were self-detected by men, especially for patients >70 years of age," the authors write. "This group might therefore be a logical target for melanoma detection education."
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