About Melanoma

Melanoma - the facts

  • Melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer
  • Melanoma is responsible for 75% of skin cancer deaths
  • 120,000 new cases of Melanoma in 2009
  • Melanoma incidence increased by 50% since 1984
  • Melanoma is the number-one cancer killer for women between 25-29
  • More men have melanoma than women
  • No cure for advanced stage Melanoma
  • Early detection and simple resection melanoma is curable
  • Early diagnosis could save $165,000 per late stage melanoma patient

Melanoma - the clinical issue

Which PSL is Melanoma? Which PSL should be biopsied?

The clinical challenge is the decision to biopsy!

The doctor and/or the patient may be suspicious of a pigmented skin lesion (PSL) and concerned that it may be Melanoma. Clearly if the PSL appears grossly unusual or is ulcerated or bleeding then the decision to biopsy or resect the lesion is straight forward: however at this stage it may be too late and the cancer has metastasized.

In the case of quite innocent looking PSL the early diagnosis of Melanoma requires a highly trained clinician, and very often a biopsy is made to be certain no cancer is present. A biopsy is minor surgery and is accompanied with risk and anxiety for the patient and great cost of the health care provider.

Balter's OTD is designed and developed to help clinicians with the biopsy/not biopsy decision. The obvious benefits include increased specificity of the doctor (i.e. fewer unnecessary biopsies), less anxiety for the patient and cost savings for the healthcare provider.

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