Items in AFP with MESH term: Melanoma

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Early Detection and Treatment of Skin Cancer - Article

ABSTRACT: The incidence of skin cancer is increasing by epidemic proportions. Basal cell cancer remains the most common skin neoplasm, and simple excision is generally curative. Squamous cell cancers may be preceded by actinic keratoses-premalignant lesions that are treated with cryotherapy, excision, curettage or topical 5-fluorouracil. While squamous cell carcinoma is usually easily cured with local excision, it may invade deeper structures and metastasize. Aggressive local growth and metastasis are common features of malignant melanoma, which accounts for 75 percent of all deaths associated with skin cancer. Early detection greatly improves the prognosis of patients with malignant melanoma. The differential diagnosis of pigmented lesions is challenging, although the ABCD and seven-point checklists are helpful in determining which pigmented lesions require excision. Sun exposure remains the most important risk factor for all skin neoplasms. Thus, patients should be taught basic "safe sun" measures: sun avoidance during peak ultraviolet-B hours; proper use of sunscreen and protective clothing; and avoidance of suntanning.


Prevention and Early Detection of Malignant Melanoma - Article

ABSTRACT: In addressing the problem of malignant melanoma, family physicians should emphasize primary prevention. This includes educating patients about the importance of avoiding excessive sun exposure and preventing sunburns, and advising them about the importance of prompt self-referral for changing nevi. Family physicians should be able to perform an overall risk assessment for melanoma, particularly to identify persons with familial atypical mole syndrome. Patients with such high risk should be strongly considered for referral for dermatologic surveillance. Because there are no systematic studies in primary care populations, there are no data on which to base recommendations for periodic screening in this setting. However, when performing any part of the physical examination, family physicians should be alert for suspicious nevi. Nevi detected by the family physician or pointed out by the patient should be subject to excisional biopsy with accepted techniques or be referred for such a procedure.


Shave and Punch Biopsy for Skin Lesions - Article

ABSTRACT: Shave and punch biopsies are essential procedures for physicians who manage skin conditions. These office-based procedures can diagnose questionable dermatologic lesions, including possible malignancies. Approaches include the superficial shave biopsy, saucerization excision, punch biopsy, and elliptical excision. A superficial shave biopsy can be used for raised lesions. A saucerization biopsy may be performed for flat or pigmented lesions. Punch biopsies yield full-thickness samples and can be used for lesions that require dermal or subcutaneous tissue for diagnosis. Indications for biopsy of suspected melanoma remain controversial. Sufficient tissue may be obtained with the quicker, less costly saucerization biopsy or the more time-consuming, invasive elliptical excisional biopsy.


Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma: A Primary Care Perspective - Article

ABSTRACT: Cutaneous malignant melanoma accounts for 3 to 5 percent of all skin cancers and is responsible for approximately 75 percent of all deaths from skin cancer. Persons with an increased number of moles, dysplastic (also called atypical) nevi, or a family history of the disease are at increased risk compared with the general population. An important tool to assist in the evaluation of potential melanomas for patients and health care professionals is the ABCDE mnemonic, which takes into account asymmetry, border irregularities, color variation, diameter, and evolution. Any suspicious pigmented lesion should be biopsied. Appropriate methods of biopsy can vary, and include deep shave, punch, and excisional biopsy. Regardless of the procedure selected, it is essential that the size of the specimen be adequate to determine the histologic depth of lesion penetration, which is known as the Breslow depth. The Breslow depth is the most important prognostic parameter in evaluating the primary tumor. Because early detection and treatment can lead to identification of thinner lesions, which may increase survival, it is critical that physicians be comfortable with evaluating suspicious pigmented lesions and providing treatment or referral as necessary.


Dermatologic Conditions in Skin of Color: Part I. Special Considerations for Common Skin Disorders - Article

ABSTRACT: Skin of color traditionally refers to that of persons of African, Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic backgrounds. Differences in cutaneous structure and function can result in skin conditions with distinct presentations and varying prevalence that require unique treatment. Skin cancers have different presentations in these populations. The ability to recognize and diagnose skin cancer in a timely manner is important for reducing morbidity and mortality. Basal cell carcinoma often is pigmented, squamous cell carcinoma occurs in areas of chronic scarring and inflammation, and melanoma presents in non–sun-exposed areas, such as the soles and nail beds. Diagnosis requires biopsy, with the technique depending on size and location of the lesion. Treatment options range from topical to surgical. Acne commonly results in postinflammatory hyperpigmentation and keloids. Combination therapy with topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxide is generally more effective than monotherapy for treating acne. Use of retinoids at lower concentrations and at less frequent dosing can help prevent postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.


Dermoscopy for the Family Physician - Article

ABSTRACT: Noninvasive in vivo imaging techniques have become an important diagnostic aid for skin cancer detection. Dermoscopy, also known as dermatoscopy, epiluminescence microscopy, incident light microscopy, or skin surface microscopy, has been shown to increase the clinician’s diagnostic accuracy when evaluating cutaneous neoplasms. A handheld instrument called a dermatoscope or dermoscope, which has a transilluminating light source and standard magnifying optics, is used to perform dermoscopy. The dermatoscope facilitates the visualization of subsurface skin structures that are not visible to the unaided eye. The main purpose for using dermoscopy is to help correctly identify lesions that have a high likelihood of being malignant (i.e., melanoma or basal cell carcinoma) and to assist in differentiating them from benign lesions clinically mimicking these cancers. Colors and structures visible with dermoscopy are required for generating a correct diagnosis. Routinely using dermoscopy and recognizing the presence of atypical pigment network, blue-white color, and dermoscopic asymmetry will likely improve the observer’s sensitivity for detecting pigmented basal cell carcinoma and melanoma. A two-step algorithm based on a seven-level criterion ladder is the foundation for dermoscopic evaluation of skin lesions. The first step of the algorithm is intended to help physicians differentiate melanocytic lesions from the following nonmelanocytic lesions: dermatofibroma, basal cell carcinoma, seborrheic keratosis, and hemangioma. The second step is intended to help physicians differentiate nevi from melanoma using one of several scoring systems. From a management perspective, the two-step algorithm is intended to guide the decision-making process on whether to perform a biopsy, or to refer or reassure the patient.


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