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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2007;60(1):32-40. Epub 2006 Jul 7.

Incidence, mortality and survival in cutaneous melanoma.

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Melanoma and Sarcoma Surgical Unit, Royal Marsden Hospital, 203 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JJ, UK.


Cutaneous melanoma remains a challenge despite increased levels of awareness, education and targeted health policies. Worldwide incidence rates for cutaneous melanoma have risen faster than those for any other malignancy in Caucasian populations over the last 30 years. Despite improving survival rates (defined as the ratio of those who survive the disease against incidence) over this period, mortality rates, generally, have continued to climb. Mortality from melanoma is greater than that caused by all other types of skin cancer, especially in men. In Britain the percentage of increase in the male age standardised mortality rate surpassed that of all other malignancies assessed (1993-2002) by Cancer Research UK. A literature-based study was conducted with review of publications identified through Medline and EMBase, 1980-December 2005, databases. We present a review of the current literature on incidence, mortality and survival rates of melanoma including a discussion on the aetiological factors, behaviour modification associated with public education campaigns and recent health policies and the effect these are having on melanoma figures. It is likely that any fall in mortality rates from melanoma in the near future will be secondary to early detection. Changes resulting from primary prevention are unlikely to be noticeable for several decades.

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