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August 1993

Controlling Malignant Melanoma: A Focus on Pediatricians

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology (Dr Brodkin), and the New Jersey Medical School (Dr Altman), University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark.

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(8):875-881. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160320077023

• There is evidence that the mortality rate associated with malignant melanoma can be decreased by early identification of the risk factors for melanoma and precursor lesions and by reducing sun exposure in young patients at higher risk. Many of the risk factors for malignant melanoma are seen in the pediatric age group. To determine pediatricians' awareness of risk factors for melanoma and their ability to recognize the precursors of melanoma, we studied three departments of pediatrics—at an urban and a suburban medical center and a medical college. Ninety-six members of the audience, which included full-time faculty, practicing pediatricians, and pediatrics residents, responded to questionnaires before and after a presentation on the risk factors for melanoma. Based on the results of the questionnaires, this group of pediatricians believed that they were not sufficiently knowledgeable about the risk factors for melanoma and did not routinely examine their patients for these risk factors or counsel them on proper sunlight protection. These findings indicate a need for making pediatricians aware of the risk factors for melanoma and of the critical role they play in decreasing the incidence and mortality rate associated with this disease.

(AJDC. 1993;147:875-881)