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From the JAMA Network
February 10, 2015

Risk-Stratified Screening for Detection of Melanoma

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Cutaneous Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida
  • 2Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2015;313(6):616-617. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.13813

The incidence of cutaneous melanoma continues to increase worldwide; in the next 10 to 15 years, melanoma is expected to become one of the most common cancers in the United States, with a projected incidence of 150 000 cases by 2030.1 Even though melanoma is amenable to early detection, the mortality for melanoma has continued to increase and currently is estimated to result in 9710 deaths in the United States in 2014.2 However, screening for melanoma is not currently supported by US Preventive Services Task Force skin cancer screening guidelines.3 Uncertainty about the benefits of population-based screening for melanoma in terms of reducing deaths, concerns about the large number of unnecessary biopsies that might result, and the perception that screening programs would expend resources on many individuals at very low risk are among the most commonly cited reasons why skin screening for early detection of cutaneous melanoma is not supported in the United States. It is time to reexamine this issue and begin the process of adopting risk-stratified screening to detect cutaneous melanoma at its earliest, most curable stages.

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