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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006 May;54(5):783-92.

Presentation and detection of invasive melanoma in a high-risk population.

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  • 1Queensland Cancer Fund, Brisbane, Australia.



Early detection of melanoma has been encouraged in Queensland for many years, yet little is known about the patterns of detection and the way in which they relate to tumor thickness.


Our purpose was to describe current patterns of melanoma detection in Queensland.


This was a population-based study, comprising 3772 Queensland residents diagnosed with a histologically confirmed melanoma between 2000 and 2003.


Almost half (44.0%) of the melanomas were detected by the patients themselves, with physicians detecting one fourth (25.3%) and partners one fifth (18.6%). Melanomas detected by doctors were more likely to be thin (<0.75 mm) than those detected by the patient or other layperson. Melanomas detected during a deliberate skin examination were thinner than those detected incidentally.


Although a participation rate of 78% was achieved, as in any survey, nonresponse bias cannot be completely excluded, and the ability of the results to be generalized to other geographical areas is unknown.


There are clear differences in the depth distribution of melanoma in terms of method of detection and who detects the lesions that are consistent with, but do not automatically lead to, the conclusion that promoting active methods of detection may be beneficial.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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