According to the CDC, a startling increase in the number of cases of melanoma has been seen over the past 30 years. Data shows that from 1982- 2011 the number of cases of melanoma doubled from 11.2 to 22.7 per 100,000 people. The annual incidence is expected to peak at 112,000 new cases of melanoma by 2030.
The survival for those diagnosed with early stage melanoma is good: greater than 90% of those diagnosed with early melanoma are expected to survive 10 years. Unfortunately, the survival rates of those diagnosed with advanced or metastatic melanoma are very poor. The 10 year survival for stage 4 melanoma is only 10-15%.
There may, however, be many new therapeutic options for the treatment of advanced melanoma that will hopefully improve outcomes. Since 2011, the FDA has approved eight new agents to treat metastatic melanoma.
Still, the main message of melanoma experts is prevention. The earlier an atypical skin lesion is caught and removed, the higher the rate of cure and survival. Please remember to schedule your regular full skin exams and perform self-skin exams monthly.