Monitoring risk factors 'could aid detection of melanoma'

10 November 2016

A new study has highlighted a number of melanoma risk factors that could be used to help monitor individuals who may be susceptible to the disease.

The University of Sydney research categorised 2,727 patients with melanoma as high or lower risk depending on whether they already had a personal or family history of melanoma, as well as analysing the number of moles on their skin.

It was found that 39 per cent of patients were deemed to be in the higher-risk group due to family history, multiple primary melanomas or having lots of moles, with the average age at diagnosis being lower for these higher-risk patients.

Patients with a family history were diagnosed with the disease at age 56 on average, rising to 59 for those with many moles and 69 for those with a previous melanoma.

Meanwhile higher-risk patients with many moles were also shown to be more likely to have melanoma on the trunk of the body, whereas those with a family history saw the condition generally affect their limbs, and those with a personal history were most likely to develop melanoma on the head and neck.

Study leader Dr Caroline Watts said: "The results of our study suggest that a person's risk factor status might be used to tailor their surveillance programme, in terms of starting age and education about skin self-examination, or more intensive surveillance."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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