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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Health Center

Melanoma Detection: Waiting Is Risky for Men

Have a Doctor Check Out Suspicious Moles While They Are Small, Easier to Treat
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Melanoma Awareness Key to Early Detection continued...

Overall, the results showed:

  • Less than 20% of men were aware of melanoma warning signs
  • Less than 50% practiced skin self-examination, and
  • Less than 14% used the Internet for skin cancer information.

“Public education, in particular targeting less-educated, middle-aged, and older men for improved self-examination and physician skin surveillance, should become an integral component of skin cancer risk reduction strategies promoted by cancer advocacy organizations,” write researcher Susan M. Swetter, MD, of Stanford University Medical Center, and colleagues.

Risky Wait for Melanoma Detection

In the second study, researcher Alan C. Geller, MPH, RN, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues used the same survey data to examine factors related to melanoma detection by doctors.

They found that men whose melanomas were detected by a doctor tended to be older (57% were 65 or older compared with 42% of those who detected the cancer themselves and 34% whose melanoma was detected by someone else).

Researchers say this may be because older men tend to visit their doctor more frequently than younger men. They may also have poorer eyesight for self-detection and are less likely to have a partner to look at their skin.

Melanoma detection by a doctor proved to be the best method of detecting melanomas in their early, thin stages. Ninety-two percent of doctor-detected melanomas on the back were less than 2 millimeters thick compared with 76% of those detected by other people and 63% of self-detected melanomas.

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