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Lancet. 1992 Apr 18;339(8799):971-5.

Cutaneous malignant melanoma, Scotland, 1979-89. The Scottish Melanoma Group.

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Department of Dermatology, Glasgow University, UK.


The Scottish Melanoma Group (SMG) was established in 1979 to assess mortality from and incidence, features, pathological data, and management of cutaneous malignant melanoma in Scotland. Incidence during the first five years and five-year survival have already been reported. We now have data about incidence and mortality over eleven years in relation to anatomical site and pathological types. From 1979 to 1989, 1354 male and 2459 female patients with primary cutaneous malignant melanomas were first diagnosed in Scottish residents. The incidence rate per 100,000 population per year has increased from 3.4 in 1979 to 7.1 in 1989 for men, and from 6.6 to 10.4 for women. The overall increase over eleven years is 82% (7.4% per year). The greatest rates of increase are seen in lesions of the superficial spreading histogenetic type, arising on the female leg and the male trunk. Following public education programmes started in 1985, the proportion of all melanomas less than 1.5 mm thick has shown a sustained and significant increase. Mortality data for 1661 patients for whom a minimum of five-year follow-up is available shows five-year survival of 71.6% overall (77.6% for women, 58.7% for men). The survival advantage for women persists when appropriate statistical adjustment is made for thickness, ulceration, and histogenetic type. These data are useful in designing public education programmes aimed at both primary and secondary prevention of melanoma and in auditing changes in trends that might result from such education.

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