Incurable Skin Cancer and Melanoma Cases
To determine the number of incurable skin cancer and melanoma cases due to late detection and the available solutions in order to boost early detection and public awareness.
- When discussing skin cancer, there are usually two major classifications: nonmelanoma skin cancers and melanoma.
- The nonmelanoma cancers vary in severity, but are generally not as aggressive and deadly as melanoma cancers.
- Melanoma is much more dangerous, but is still highly survivable once detected early.
- Stage 4 melanoma is infinitely more dangerous. In the past, nearly all stage 4 patients died of the disease. However, chances of survival at a late stage have improved dramatically.
- While invasive melanoma makes up only about 1% of all skin cancer cases, it accounts for the majority of skin cancer deaths.
- It is estimated 7,230 Americans will die of melanoma in 2019.
- However, the death rate for melanoma has decreased in US adults by 2-4%.
- As of 2018, the 5-year survival rate for metastatic Stage IV melanoma is 22.5%.
- In 2019, it is estimated that there will be over 96,000 cases of melanoma of the skin, with just over 7,200 of these cases leading to death.
- In order to improve chances of early detection, the American Cancer Society recommends regular skin self-exams.
- It is also recommended that healthcare professionals include skin exams as part of the routine checkup for their patients.
- Work is currently being done on a small inexpensive probe that can distinguish between harmless moles and cancerous ones in seconds.
- News corporations like CBS and websites such as The Healthy have devoted time and resources to speaking with professionals in order to spread awareness of skin cancer and deadly melanoma.
- Programs like the SPOTme program exist with the aim of facilitating early detection by providing free screenings to anyone who is unable to see a dermatologist.
- A strategy called mole mapping also exists for people at risk of malignant melanoma.
- Mole mapping involves a clinical skin exam and dermoscopy to identify concerning trends and areas.
- A melanoma also has distinguishing characteristics known commonly as the ABCDEs to help patients know what to look for.
- Asymmetrical moles, unusual colors, and unusually large diameter size of moles are some of the features that make up the ABCDEs.
- A National Center for Biotechnology Information study concluded that introducing skin self-examinations (SSE) to women already invested in preventive health would promote deadly skin cancer awareness.
Proposed next steps:
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As our early research indicated that men and women over the age of 40 need to be made more aware of the risk of melanoma, we would recommend continued research focused on how men and women in that age group consume medical information. This will help determine effective ways to make information about melanoma available to them.
Additionally, we would recommend research to determine which demographic group or groups is/are most susceptible to late-stage melanoma death, and if there are ways to boost awareness among this/these groups.