Quick quiz question: two people are diagnosed with melanoma – Sarah Sunburn, an adamant sun-worshipper, and Paula Pale-All-The-Time, a fanatical sun-avoider. Who is more likely to die of the disease?
The answer is pale-faced Paula. Surprised? Let me unpack this mystery and explain why sun exposure simultaneously kills people, while making the cancers they are diagnosed with appear to be less life-threatening.
In 1998, French dermatologist Jean-Jacques Grob proposed a new system to identify melanomas that slip past the ABCDEs. Grob observed that people typically produce moles that look similar to each other, so a lesion that doesn’t conform to the body’s usual pattern for moles may be pre-cancerous or cancerous, even if it doesn’t bear the classic signs of skin cancer. Grob called it the “ugly duckling sign.”
Globally, North America is the region with the second-highest instance of melanoma, trailing just Australia and New Zealand—though by a very significant margin.
Melanoma accounts for only around 1% of skin cancers, but it’s by far the most deadly and has a reputation for quickly developing resistance to chemotherapy. Moreover, rates of melanoma have been increasing over the past few decades.
There’s a lot to be said for sunshine – both good and bad. It’s our main source of vitamin D, which is essential for bone and muscle health. Populations with higher levels of sun exposure also have better blood pressure and mood levels, and fewer autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
On the other hand, excess UV exposure is estimated to contribute to 95% of melanomas and 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers. These skin cancers account for a whopping 80% of all new cancers each year in Australia.
It's a good idea to keep an eye on your moles, to see if any of them are changing, which can be a sign of skin cancer, experts agree. But a new study finds that the sometimes-deadly skin cancer melanoma usually arises in normal skin, where there is no dark spot or sign of cancer until the melanoma suddenly shows up.
Future tech could help you determine when to build mountains out of molehills
Renouf estimates over 90 percent of melanoma cases are treated easily with surgery if it's caught early, meaning it's very important to regularly check your moles. And don't just check areas that are typically exposed to sun (so yes, the soles of your feet and private parts included).
"Anecdotally, a lot of melanomas and other types of skin cancer are actually picked up by the person themselves or a loved one," she said.
Unlike most common cancers, such as breast and lung cancer, the incidence of melanoma continues to increase, mainly in young people below the age of 30. There has been a more than 50 percent increase in melanoma in young women since 1980.
The vast majority of melanomas are caused by exposure to UV light from sun or indoor tanning. Reducing these exposures by changing habits or using sun protection – sun screens and clothing coverage – is the best way to avoid melanoma and other skin cancers.
Even though we now know better, there are still many who aren't doing better. The majority of Canadians recognize that skin cancer is dangerous -- yet we continue to see apathy around sun safety...
Some doctors say individuals at high risk for skin cancer should have one head-to-toe exam a year.
Getting to know your skin is probably the single most important thing you can do to help detect skin cancer symptoms. Check your moles regularly and keep a record of things popping up or growing on your skin.
After my husband Olof’s four surgeries for in situ melanoma, the less serious form that hasn’t penetrated below the top layers of skin, and my surgery for malignant melanoma — the type that has — we asked our dermatologist where we’d ever be able to go on vacation again. She replied, “Oregon in the winter?”
Hopefully in the not-too-distant future, when a suspicious lesion is identified in a patient, rather than having to undergo a biopsy, patients can just have a simple blood test.
Skin cancer is easy to prevent as long as you know what to look for.
Married people are more likely than the unmarried to get timely diagnosis and treatment for malignant skin cancer. Early detection of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is essential to effective treatment. The five-year survival rate for stage 1 disease is more than 98 percent, but by stage 3, the rate declines to 62 percent.
A new study reinforces the potential of a new class of expensive immune-boosting drugs to prolong the lives of people with a deadly form of skin cancer.
Compared with men of normal weight, obese men in treatment had nearly double the progression-free survival time and nearly double the overall survival time. The more overweight the man was, the greater the effect. But there was no association of obesity with survival in women.
It's everywhere and everybody does it…uses sunscreen, that is. But could sunscreens be causing more harm than good?
The field of melanoma—both research and clinical management—has exponentially expanded over the past decade and has become a paradigm for understanding cancer signaling, tumor immunology and their clinical application.
Despite the complexity, the authors have tried to explain the treatments and the genetics underlying the major progress in remission and recurrence resulting from the targeted therapies. Other consumer health books on melanoma have not attempted such comprehensive explanations. The authors are to be commended on this attempt.
Indoor tanning might seem like a fashion that faded with the 1980s, but it remains a persistent part of American adolescence, popular spring, summer and fall but especially in winter, when bodies are palest.
Sunscreen is one of the most popular forms of protection from the sun's damaging rays. But how and why it works is often met with confusion. Here's what you need to know...
It’s uncomfortable to entertain even the possibility of cancer. But there’s one type of cancer you are basically sure to survive if you take just a little preventive action.
A melanoma diagnosis can lead to many unanswered questions. Aim for Answers makes finding the right information easier, by providing patients, caregivers and family members, with everything they need to know about melanoma.
Melanoma March was established in 2012 by a Sydney businessman who lost his 18 year old son to melanoma. The inaugural Melanoma March, held in Manly, was a local event honouring the memory of those who had been lost to melanoma, while also providing an opportunity to raise vital funds and awareness. The event quickly grew, becoming a national initiative of Melanoma Institute Australia and the major annual fundraising campaign to support ongoing melanoma research.
Collaboration is at MRA's core–from the team approaches to research that we fund, to the way we find partners who can help us realize our vision. Our allies are also focused on increasing public knowledge about the seriousness of melanoma and ways to reduce risk and improve early detection.
It is important to understand that not all skin cancers are created equal. There are three different types of skin cancers with varying degrees of severity, and while most can be cured if found and treated early, those that spread beyond the surface of the skin can be complex and difficult to treat.
The Children's Melanoma Prevention Foundation was created to educate school children on the proven methods of sun protection and skin cancer prevention.
The Melanoma Education Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to saving lives from melanoma, a common skin cancer that is often deadly unless detected early before there are any symptoms.
We provide hope and guidance to melanoma patients and families by empowering them with correct up-to-date information. We are on the cutting edge of creating and supporting the most effective melanoma programs for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of melanoma.
The American Melanoma Foundation is a voluntary health agency, registered as a 501(c)(3) charitable, non-profit organization. AMF is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors dedicated to serving the needs of patients and communities nationwide, and is a member of the National Council On Skin Cancer Prevention
Notes on the journey I didn't plan to take... Motherhood, Melanoma, and making it to my Maserati.
Whether it's in our Overviews, Detailed Guides, or one of our other cancer documents, chances are you will find the information you need in this section.
Not only is it the deadliest, but it's also the fourth most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.
Three types of cancers account for virtually 100% of skin cancers. The nonmelanomatous skin cancers include basal cell carcinomaand squamous cell carcinoma. Malignant melanoma is the third, and most deadly, type of skin cancer.
The Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF) is the largest independent organization devoted to melanoma. Committed to the support of medical research in finding effective treatments and eventually a cure for melanoma, the MRF also educates patients and physicians about prevention, diagnosis and the treatment of melanoma.
Information about melanoma treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and vaccine therapy.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. However, if it is recognized and treated early, it is nearly 100 percent curable.