Characteristcs of Fast-Growing Melanomas Identified

microscopic image of melanoma

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

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