August 2005

ABCDE—An Evolving Concept in the Early Detection of Melanoma

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2005 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2005

Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(8):1032-1034. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.8.1032


Definition: A process of change leading to an improved state

The public health impact of malignant melanoma continues to increase. It has been estimated that 59 580 newly diagnosed cases of invasive melanoma and an additional 46 170 cases of in situ melanoma will occur in the United States in 2005.1 Currently, 1 in 62 people in the United States will develop invasive melanoma during their lifetime (up from 1 in 1500 in 1930), and should the current rate of increase in incidence continue, by 2010 the lifetime risk will increase to 1 in 50 (Figure 1). If in situ cases are included, the lifetime risk of a US patient developing melanoma is 1 in 34. The annual cost of treating skin cancer in the Medicare population alone in the United States is now estimated at $1 billion,2 with 90% of treatment costs associated with therapy for advanced disease.3

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