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August 2014

Melanoma Surveillance in “High-Risk” Individuals

Author Affiliations
  • 1Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(8):815-816. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.513

Among cancers, melanoma is uniquely amenable to early visual detection and simple curative therapy. Screening may therefore reduce mortality, and this logic has led to population-based surveillance efforts in Germany, with initial results in the state of Schleswig-Holstein suggesting a nearly 50% decrease in melanoma mortality.1 The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) guidelines do not currently recommend population-based melanoma screening.2 Although the USPSTF identifies certain patient groups at substantially increased risk for melanoma, namely fair-skinned men and women older than 65 years and individuals with atypical moles or more than a total of 50 moles, they state that the benefits of screening these patients continue to remain uncertain.2 In this issue of JAMA Dermatology, Moloney et al3 illustrate the potential impact of surveillance in some of the highest risk melanoma groups. It also adds to a growing body of literature supporting the role of technology in aiding melanoma detection.