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Malignant Melanoma Often Asymptomatic

Tenderness common in squamous cell carcinoma, bleeding common in basal cell carcinoma

TUESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Malignant melanoma is often asymptomatic, while tenderness is typical of squamous cell carcinomas and bleeding is more likely to be found with basal cell carcinomas, according to a report in the May issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Erin M. Warshaw, M.D., from the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and colleagues examined signs and symptoms of malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and seborrheic keratosis in 3,039 skin neoplasms in 2,152 patients.

Eighty-two percent of malignant melanoma cases reported no symptoms, which was more common compared with basal cell carcinoma (relative risk, 2.26), squamous cell carcinoma (RR, 3.31), and seborrheic keratosis (RR, 2.0). Tenderness was reported in 40 percent of squamous cell carcinoma cases, which was more common compared with malignant melanoma (RR, 15.9) and basal cell carcinoma (RR, 2.6). Bleeding was found in 37 percent of basal cell carcinomas, which was more common compared with seborrheic keratosis (RR, 2.3), squamous cell carcinoma (RR, 1.6) and malignant melanoma (RR, 29.8).

"Our results suggest that malignant melanoma may be asymptomatic more often than previously recognized in elderly men," Warshaw and colleagues conclude. "Squamous cell carcinoma was most commonly associated with tenderness and basal cell carcinoma was most commonly associated with bleeding."

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