Recent Medical Studies Show That Early Detection May Be More Important Than Sun Avoidance for Skin Cancer Prognosis

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California Melanoma Society reports that Studies at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere have shown gene changes in red haired mole cancer patients suggest that genetic tendencies and perhaps, other yet unveiled influences, may do more to explain the explosion of malignant melanomas in the past 30 years than the influence of sun since this increase has occurred simultaneously with a tremendous increase in the application of sunscreens by the U.S. population.

If a patient has any growth on his/her body that looks like this then he or she could have a life threatening mole cancer (Malignant Melanoma): the fastest increasing fatal cancer in the U.S. over the last 30 years. The irony is that often the skin growths that are the largest (melanomas rarely get large-they have spread and killed beforehand) and the most unsightly/worrisome are generally benign because the body allows non-threatening growths to progress with impunity. Melanomas, (and abnormal moles) on the other hand, demonstrate the body's resistance to abnormality by showing either color irregularity (frequently mild redness) or border irregularity ("notching"). The most common location on males is on the back; In females on the legs. They can occur anywhere, including the scalp and genitals. Sun exposure is less of a causative factor than with other skin cancers. Ethnogenicity (fairer skin gene pools) plays a substantial role.

Dermatologists have a very high accuracy rate (26% higher than family doctors) in diagnosing early melanomas, when they are up to 98% curable. There are only a few life saving early screening technologies in medicine: It can be prevented with a simple effective mole screening check. 1/3 of melanomas come from pre-existing moles.

The California Melanoma Society

President, Douglas Hamilton M.D., Diplomate of The American Board of Dermatology
Diplomate of The American Board of Dermatopathology, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at UCLA

Offices: Beverly Hills and Woodland HIlls

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Douglas Hamilton