-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Transplant recipients and
patients with lymphoma have a significantly increased risk of
developing and dying from melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin
cancer, a new study indicates.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that
melanoma is 2.5 times more likely to strike these patients than
people in the general population. Melanoma is also more likely to
be fatal in these patients, according to the study, published in
the October issue of
Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Patients with a form of lymphoma called chronic lymphocytic
leukemia who develop melanoma are 2.8 times more likely to die from
metastatic melanoma, in which the cancer spreads from the skin to
other parts of the body.
Transplant recipients and lymphoma patients have weakened immune
systems, which makes early detection of melanoma especially
important, the researchers said. Early detection will improve their
chances of survival.
"How you catch melanoma earlier is to be very aware of your skin," study co-author Dr. Jerry Brewer, a dermatologist, said in a Mayo news release. "These patients with immunosuppression should be looking themselves over head-to-toe once a month, they should be seeing a dermatologist once or twice a year, and if they have a lot of other risk factors, maybe more often than that."
Applying sunscreen once a day isn't enough, he added. For
immunosuppressed patients, the risk of melanoma is so high that
they should use sunscreen "almost as often as you brush your
teeth," he said.
The first signs of melanoma are often a change in a mole's
appearance or the development of a new pigmented or unusual looking
growth, he explained.
Melanoma is on the rise in the United States and affects about
one in 50 people in the general population.
The American Cancer Society has more about
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