Throughout the world, the incidence of malignant melanoma is increasing at an alarming rate. This dramatic rise is largely due to more frequent and prolonged exposure to intense sun, the result of major changes in clothing styles, recreation, and lifestyle (including widespread access to midwinter resort vacations). Significantly, recent scientific studies have shown an increased number of moles on, and a higher rate of melanoma in, people with the greatest sunscreen use, pointing out the mistaken belief that using sunscreen means getting a "safe" tan. The truth is that most sunscreen provides protection from UVB raysthe rays that cause the sunburn you see and feelbut not from UVA raysthe cancer-causing rays that penetrate deeper into the skin.
In this book, physicians Jill R. Schofield and William A. Robinson team up to provide comprehensive information about melanoma for patients and family members as well as those who are concerned about getting the disease. They provide the latest information on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and follow-up, and answer a host of questions, such as: • I use a number 15 sunscreen. Is that enough? • I have been under a lot of stress lately. Did that make me get melanoma? • If the melanoma comes back, when will it happen? • Is there a blood test to tell if the melanoma has spread? • Is a mole more likely to turn into melanoma if it's in a place where my clothes rub?
In addition, the authors describe who is at risk and tell readers how to determine their level of risk; describe skin warning signs and unusual forms of melanoma; talk about melanoma in children, pregnant women, and people whose immune systems are compromised; and take a look at what's on the horizon in diagnosis and treatment. The book is fully illustrated with color photographs and line drawings and includes a glossary and a guide to resourcessupport and advocacy organizations, and web sitesfor people with melanoma.
About the Author
Jill R. Schofield, M.D., is an internist/hospitalist at St. Joseph Hospital for the Colorado Permanente Medical Group in Denver. She has had a long-standing interest in the development, education, prevention, and early detection of malignant melanoma. William A. Robinson, M.D., Ph.D., is the American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology at the University of Colorado. He directed the Melanoma Research Clinic at the University of Colorado for many years, and served from 1996 to 1999 as a visiting scientist at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne.
Table of Contents
Pt. I - Melanoma: Recognizing and Preventing It
1 What Is Malignant Melanoma?
2 About Pigmented Lesions
3 What Causes Melanoma, and Why Are So Many People Getting It?
4 Skin Warning Signs
5 What Is Your Risk? The Risk Factors for Melanoma
6 Prevention, Early Detection, and Education
Pt. II - Melanoma: Diagnosis and Treatment
7 Diagnosing and Treating the Primary Lesion
8 Staging, Treatment Decisions, Prognosis, and Follow-Up
9 Adjuvant Therapy
10 Treating Advanced Melanoma
11 Managing Pain and the End of Life
Pt. III - Melanoma: Less Common Types and Melanoma Research
12 Unusual Forms of Melanoma
13 What's New in Melanoma Research?
Guide to Resources for People with Cancer
What People are Saying About This
"Patients and families with melanoma will find this book informative and useful as they deal with this illness. The authors do an excellent job of explaining complicated and difficult medical concepts in plain language."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If caught in time, curing skin cancer is simple. If not caught soon enough, skin cancer is usually fatal. At the same time, skin cancer's prevalence is rapidly increasing. Within our lifetimes, it may well be the major source of deaths from cancer . . . unless we all become more vigilant. This book will take you to the level of understanding of skin cancer that dermatologists have, but in a way that a nonscientific person can understand. You will benefit from many diagrams and color plates that will help you decide if a mole or abnormality on the skin needs a biopsy to test for cancer. You can use this information to check yourself, your loved ones, and people you see more casually. You may well save a life in the process! This is like learning CPR. Most skin cancer is thought to be caused by occasional overexposure to the sun before age 19. So even if you have been careful since 19, you may still get it. Those who have skin cancer once also have an increased likelihood of a recurrence. There are many misunderstandings about what is needed to be done now, including the thought that using sun block will solve the problem of future risk. That's not true. Most sun blocks only stop the UV B rays. UV A rays (which are found in tanning salons) are also considered a probable cause of DNA mutations in the skin that cause skin cancer. In addition, the damage you experienced with a bad sunburn when you were 16 cannot be undone by care now. 80 percent of lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before age 19 for most people. Some people have a genetic predisposition, and that is explained as well. You will find out a lot about treatments, and the prognosis for recovery, as well as the latest research. I picked up this book because weird growths started appearing on my skin around age 50. I became a frequent visitor to my dermatologist, who happily burned off most of these. But I felt a lot of anxiety until the biopsies told me they were benign. I think this information will help me feel more comfortable with my growths, and better inform me about when I need to go see my outstanding dermatologist, Dr. Peter Bendetson. One of the things you will learn is that the flat moles near the surface are the ones most likely to turn into cancer. So when they start changing in asymmetric, and colorful ways, get thee to the dermatologist. I emphasize that because the book is filled with stories about general practitioners pooh-poohing the significance of skin abnormalities that turned out to be cancer. You cannot tell what a discoloration or growth is for sure without a biopsy. A busy general practitioner may often be unlikely to want to take one and treat you until after you have been shown to have skin cancer. By the way, the problem with skin cancer is that it spreads throughout the body when too deeply established. Once it is past the skin, it becomes hard to stop. Take precautions, watch out, and get early treatment! After you read and apply this outstanding book, I suggest that you think about what other areas of your mental and physical health you need to be monitor and attend to more consistently. Do you eat a healthy diet? Do you drink enough water? Do you get enough exercise? Do you feel good around other people? Do you have loving relationships in your life? Do you have an annual physical examination? Have the quality of life you deserve! Donald Mitchell, co-author of The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The 2,000 Percent Solution