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April 1996

Prevention and Early Detection Strategies for Melanoma and Skin Cancer: Current Status

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Koh, Miller, Grossbart, and Lew and Mr Geller) and Medicine (Dr Koh), School of Medicine, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health (Drs Koh and Miller and Mr Geller), and The Cancer Prevention and Control Center (Drs Koh, Miller, Grossbart, and Lew and Mr Geller), Boston (Mass) University Medical Center Hospital.

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(4):436-443. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890280098014

Skin cancer represents an increasingly urgent worldwide public health problem.1 Estimates project almost a million (or more) new cases each year in the United States; this number is roughly equal to that of all other cancers combined.2 The incidence of cutaneous melanoma, which is mounting faster than that of any other cancer in white persons, nearly doubled from 1973 to 1990; in addition, the rise in melanoma mortality rates in white persons ranks second only to lung cancer.3 While the overall 5-year melanoma survival rates in the United States rose from 49% (in the early 1950s) to 82% (in the early 1990s), death rates more than doubled during the same time; these rates were driven up by the rising incidence.1,4 This year in the United States, melanoma will strike 34 000 persons and kill 7200—part of an estimated 90 000 cases diagnosed worldwide.5,6

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