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July 1962

Prophylactic Excision of Nevi

Arch Dermatol. 1962;86(1):1. doi:10.1001/archderm.1962.01590070007001

There are few diseases whose mention arouses the same dread and discouragement as does that of malignant melanoma. It has seemed quite reasonable, therefore, for many physicians to urge a vigorous prophylactic campaign aimed at removing the suspected premalignant lesion: the junction nevus, particularly when it is located on the palms, soles, or genital area. Pack1 and his associates at the Memorial Center for Cancer & Allied Diseases in New York have been perhaps the leading advocates of this view.

The wisdom of prophylactic removal of pigmented nevi has been challenged, however, by some dermatologists, notably Van Scott2 and his group at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, and the group at New York Skin and Cancer Hospital.3 It has been the contention of these latter groups that nevi are so common that their routine prophylactic removal would be grossly impractical and, furthermore, that it is not