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
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%).
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