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Melanoma Skin Cancer Strikes Again

Study Shows 8% of Patients Get Melanoma Again within 2 Years of 1st Diagnosis

New Location

Melanoma often recurred in new areas.

Of the 27 patients with recurrent melanoma, nearly half had all their melanomas in roughly the same spot. For example, they may have had their first melanoma on the upper back and recurrent melanoma in the middle of the back.

In four other patients, melanoma returned a bit farther away. They may have gotten their first melanoma on their back and later tumors on their front, or above and below the waist.

Melanoma recurred in more distant locations in the other 10 patients. For instance, they may have had their first melanoma on their trunk (midsection) and recurrent melanoma on an arm.

The bottom line: Melanoma can come back in new locations, so melanoma patients need close surveillance, the researchers write.

Sunburn Surprise

Excessive sun exposure has long been linked to skin cancer risk. For unknown reasons, the study showed a lower risk of melanoma recurrence in people with history of blistering sunburns.

That finding should be interpreted "cautiously," the researchers write. They warn that "the association should not be construed as suggesting that sunburn protects patients with melanoma from developing additional tumors."

The study doesn't track melanoma recurrence beyond two years after first diagnosis and wasn't big enough to detect subtle patterns in melanoma recurrence, note Titus-Ernstoff and colleagues.

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