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Would you feel confident in identifying a possible melanoma?

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15 July, 2013

Understanding malignant melanoma

Author: Jackie Hodgetts is nurse clinician in melanoma at The Christie Foundation Trust

“The incidence of melanoma is rising faster than that of any other malignancy, and subsequently melanoma is now the sixth most common cancer in the UK. As more cases are diagnosed it is likely that general nurses will come into contact with melanoma patients.”

Let’s discuss…

  • Would you feel confident in identifying a possible melanoma?
  • Do you feel able to offer preventative advice to patients?
  • Why are incidences of melanomas on the rise?

Readers' comments (4)

  • Yes I would !

    Yes I can !

    Sunbeds !

    Unsuitable or offensive?

  • what about basal cell carcinomas which are more prevalent than melanomas and grow very fast. I failed to diagnose one in myself as it looked just like a tiny scab which didn't health despite my nursing care and various methods. In fact I also exposed it to short bouts of spring sunshine as I thought it would dry it up and it would drop off. I just thought I would show it to the GP on a visit for something else as it was too small to go for expecially but another visit never materialised. However, two days after my initial visit when it was excised it was discovered to be the size of a small marble and malignant according to the lab report although, unlike melanoma, it is uncommon that these tumours metastasise, but they can return and if there is one there is usually another somewhere else. I have to return after the summer for the excision of a second one and am not worried about other moles I have as it seems hard to tell the difference and I had to push the GP to look at the others as well.

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  • It's not so easy to diagnose skin cancer sometimes but with a little training, and with the use of a dermatoscope, it becomes much easier to detect. Here in Australia of course we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world and so people are much more aware of the risk and so the need to look at skin regularly. The downside is that many fair skinned individuals don't go out in the sun and so drop their Vitamin D levels which presents us with another set of potential problems. Regular screening is important and especially if the individual has a higher risk for skin cancer.

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  • I spoke to consultant dermatologist the other day and asked how one could recognise the moles which could be malignant as one cannot keep running to doctors for a control. He replied that sometimes it can be very difficult to tell.

    my previous experience is described above.
    Anonymous | 20-Jul-2013 0:03 am

    when it comes to advising patients please never be over confident in your own abilities.

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