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Screening May Improve Early Detection for Melanoma-Prone

Reduced thickness of melanoma lesions seen for patients receiving routine skin cancer screening, education about self-exam

doctor examining patient\'s skin

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- For melanoma-prone families, reduced melanoma thickness is observed for those who receive screening for skin cancer and education about skin self-exams, according to a study published in the April issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Michael R. Sargen, M.D., from the National Institutes of Health in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues examined thickness for first primary melanomas diagnosed in melanoma-prone families enrolled in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) familial melanoma study from 1976 through 2014. Enrolled patients received routine screening for skin cancer and education about skin self-exams. Changes in thickness and tumor stage were examined over time, and outcomes were compared for cases diagnosed prestudy versus after study participation (prospective) and for NCI cases versus nonfamilial cases from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results 9 registries. Tumor thickness was examined for 293 NCI patients, including 246 prestudy and 47 prospective cases.

The researchers found that NCI prospective melanomas were thinner than NCI prestudy cases (0.6 versus 1.1 mm) and were more likely to be T1 stage (83 versus 40 percent). For familial cases with and without germline CDKN2A and CDK4 mutations, findings were similar. The thickness trends in NCI families were not fully explained by calendar period effects of decreasing thickness seen in the general population.

"Our results suggest that the screening and education provided in the NCI Familial Melanoma Study may improve early detection of melanoma in melanoma-prone families," Sargen said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to Myriad Genetics.

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