Characteristcs of Fast-Growing Melanomas Identified | BlackDoctor

    Characteristcs of Fast-Growing Melanomas Identified

    Potentially fatal skin cancers called melanomas are more likely to grow fast
    when they’re thicker, symmetrical, elevated, have regular borders or produce
    symptoms, a new Australian study found.

    “Rapidly growing melanomas can potentially
    kill in a matter of weeks,” said lead researcher Dr. Wendy Liu, of the Peter
    MacCallum Cancer Center, in East Melbourne.

    “They can occur in anyone, not necessarily
    those with large numbers of moles and freckles. In fact, they more often occur
    in those without large numbers of moles and freckles and elderly men. They are
    more often red, rather than brown and black, symmetrical, elevated and
    symptomatic,” Liu added.

    In the study, Liu’s team investigated the
    growth rate of melanoma in 404 patients with invasive melanoma. Patients had
    their skin examined, and data about the moles were collected. In addition,
    patients were interviewed as soon as possible after
    diagnosis.

    Patients and their families were asked to
    recall when they first noticed a spot on their skin from which the melanoma
    later developed, and when they noticed the mole had changed or become
    suspicious.

    The researchers collected data on
    demographics, skin cancer risk factors, the characteristics of the tumor and who
    first detected the cancer — the patient, a family member or friend, or a
    physician.

    Using this information and the thickness of
    the tumor when it was removed, Liu’s group was able to estimate its rate of
    growth.

    The researchers found that about one-third
    of all the melanomas grew less than 0.1 millimeters per month, another one-third
    grew between 0.1 millimeter and 0.49 millimeters per month, and one-third grew
    0.5 millimeters or more per month.

    Rapid tumor growth was associated with
    tumor thickness, ulceration (formation of a break or sore on the skin),
    amelanosis (lack of pigment in the tumor), regular borders, elevation and
    symptoms.

    Moreover, faster-growing melanomas were
    more often found in people 70 and older, in men, and in those with fewer moles
    and freckles, the researchers reported.

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