Patient self-checks are critical for picking up melanoma recurrence

Recurrences of early stage (stage II) melanoma are more often detected by patients and their physicians checking the skin than by routine imaging tests, a study published online by the Journal of the American College of Surgeons has found | OnMedica

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Melanoma has a 95% cure rate if caught and treated early, and studies suggest the recurrence rate for melanoma is as high as 50%.

For this study researchers at Thomas Jefferson University and the University of North Carolina analysed data on 581 patients with stage II melanoma and at least one year of follow-up. Of those, 171 patients with early stage melanoma developed a recurrence (29.4%). Male sex, ulceration, and stage were significant predictors of recurrence.

A total of 40% of recurrences were picked up by patients – either they noticed a suspicious change on their skin or experienced a symptom such as coughing blood or seizures. A further, 30% of recurrent melanomas were identified by scheduled physician examination and 26% by surveillance imaging.

Regional nodes were the most common site of recurrence (30%), followed by lung (27%), and in-transit metastases (18%).

Read the overview here

Read the original research abstract here

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