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A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2005 April;140(2):97-105

language: English, Italian

Factors related to the early diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma

Rosina P., Pugliarello S., Mozzo S., Chieregato C., Barba A.

Section of Dermatology and Venereology Department of Biomedical and Surgical Sciences University of Verona, Verona, Italy


Aim. Melanoma is a highly aggressive tumour, whose incidence is in constant increase; in this study the factors affecting the early diagnosis of the cutaneous melanoma have been analysed.
Methods. One hundred patients have been evaluated (55 M and 45 F): they have been asked to compile a questionnaire, to evaluate the modalities and the diagnostic times. We have besides registered the number of the moles, total and atypical, place and the histological characteristics of the melanoma.
Results. In 28% of the cases the melanoma was accidentally diagnosed by a doctor (dermatologist in 64% of the cases). These patients were presenting an average middle age, a lower cultural level and a scarce information level about melanoma as regards the others. Some of them went to the doctor for a systematic exam of the moles: in these cases the Breslow thickness was lower. In 72% of the cases, instead, melanoma was self-diagnosed, or rather taken over from the patient himself or a relative. The medical visit has been almost always required in quick times. The localisation of melanoma was important: in a place visible or not. From this study, at last, the patient’s prognosis has turned out to be little affected by possible mistakes of the doctors.
Conclusion. Our study suggest that awareness of the disease among physicians and the population is very important for an early diagnosis of melanoma.

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