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Melanoma
(DR007)

Introduction


Melanoma (also called malignant melanoma or cutaneous melanoma) accounts for only about 4% of all cases of skin cancer, but causes 79% of deaths from skin cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts 47,700 new cases of melanoma will occur in the United States in the year 2000.

It is well known that solar radiation leads to the development of skin cancers. When sunlight penetrates the top layers of the skin, ultraviolet (UVA or UVB) radiation damages the DNA inside skin cells.

The incidence of melanoma has increased over the past several decades from a 1:1,500 lifetime risk in 1935 to a 1:75 lifetime risk in 2000. While the cause of this is not known, it is known that depletion of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere has increased the amount of damaging ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth.

Prevention is the most important aspect of care. Education regarding protection from sun exposure is the best method to prevent the development of skin cancers.

Once melanoma has developed, early detection and treatment are key to a successful outcome. Melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages.

Treatment may include a combination of Surgery, Chemotherapy, Chemotherapeutic Regional Perfusion, Radiation Therapy, Immunotherapy, and Chemoimmunotherapy.

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