Early detection of melanoma can significantly reduce both morbidity and mortality. The risk of dying from the disease is directly related to the depth of the cancer, which is directly related to the amount of time it has been growing unnoticed. Hence, earlier detection leads to thinner cancers and saves lives. Fortunately, unlike most other cancers, skin cancers present on the skin are most often readily visible to the patient and the examiner.
Patient skin self-examination (SSE), physician-directed total-body skin exams (TBSE), and patient education are the keys to early detection.
A 2003 study showed that SSE performers are generally diagnosed with thinner melanomas than non-performers (0.77 mm vs. 0.95 mm).1
A further study, the largest population-based study of melanoma patients in Queensland, Australia, showed that for patients performing SSE, melanomas had a more favourable depth distribution (i.e., thinner tumors) than melanomas detected incidentally.2
Although the data demonstrate that patient education and SSE lead to earlier diagnosis and decreased mortality, only a minority of at-risk individuals actually perform SSE. A 2004 study showed that only 28.1 percent of patients who developed melanoma performed SSE regularly.3
SkinVision not only allows individuals to perform SSE more easily but much more accurately than not only their own eye, but that of the average dermatologist. 4
- Carli P, De Giorgi V, Palli D, et al: Dermatologist detection and skin self-examination are associated with thinner melanomas: results from a survey of the Italian multi-disciplinary group on melanoma. Arch Dermatol 2003; 139:607-612.
- McPherson M, Elwood M, English DR, et al: Presentation and detection of invasive melanoma in a high-risk population. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006; 54:783-792.
- Carli P, De Giorgi V, Palli D, et al: Self-detected cutaneous melanomas in Italian patients. Clin Exp Dermatol 2004; 29:593-596.