Think Melanoma

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Every physician’s office should be a melanoma detection station. Identification and surgical excision of early melanoma is today’s best answer to reducing the death rate from this treacherous disease. Public awareness of melanoma is gaining momentum. Melanoma education for physicians is vital if the battle against melanoma is to be successful. This presentation is a challenge to all physicians and students of medicine to identify patients at risk for melanoma and to follow up with a skin scan to search for suspicious spots on all patients with risk factors for melanoma as a part of their physical examination. We need to teach individuals at risk to do self-examination, to report immediately any recent growth changes in an existing mole or any recently acquired pigmented lesion, and to practice the rules of safe sun exposure. Because securing a suitable specimen of tissue for biopsy and proper interpretation of sections are paramount in patient management and understanding prognosis, we present guidelines for performing a proper biopsy.

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