Every dermatologist has faced the anxious melanoma patient who asks: "What is melanoma? What's going to happen to me? Can I be cured? When will I know if I am cured? Am I going to die?" As the incidence of melanoma continues to rise, so will the frequency of these poignant questions.
The study by Rogers et al1 in this issue of the Archives uses hazard-rate analysis to help us address some of these questions. Their long-term study of 719 consecutive patients with clinical stage I malignant melanoma examines prognosis and outcome and reaches some interesting conclusions and implications.
First, their study reemphasizes the crucial point that early melanoma can be cured. Although physicians are rightfully cautious when applying the term cure to any patient with cancer, it appears that patients who survive ten years after definitive surgery have little to no chance of dying from recurrent melanoma. In
Koh HK. Prognosis in MelanomaWhat Have We Learned?. Arch Dermatol. 1986;122(9):993-994. doi:10.1001/archderm.1986.01660210043013