Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Most Lethal Melanomas Are On Scalp And Neck

Date:
April 22, 2008
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
People with scalp or neck melanomas die at nearly twice the rate of people with melanoma elsewhere on the body, including the face or ears, researchers have found.

People with scalp or neck melanomas die at nearly twice the rate of people with melanoma elsewhere on the body, including the face or ears, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found.

Related Articles


The analysis of 51,704 melanoma cases in the U.S. confirms that survival rates differ depending on where skin cancer first appears. Those with scalp or neck melanomas die at a rate 1.84 times higher than those with melanomas on the extremities, after controlling for the possible influences of age, gender, tumor thickness and ulceration.

"Scalp and neck melanomas patients have a higher rate of death than patients with melanoma anywhere else on the body," said Nancy Thomas, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of dermatology in the UNC School of Medicine, a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the study's senior author. Anne Lachiewicz, a medical student in the UNC School of Medicine, is the lead author of the study.

Thomas recommends that physicians pay special attention to the scalp when examining patients for signs of skin cancer. "Only six percent of melanoma patients present with the disease on the scalp or neck, but those patients account for 10 percent of melanoma deaths. That's why we need to take extra time to look at the scalp during full-skin examinations," she said.

The study helps address a controversy among cancer researchers: whether scalp and neck skin cancer is more lethal primarily because it's diagnosed later than other melanomas. "That was the thinking of a lot of people in the field," Thomas said. But the analysis indicates that the presence of the melanoma on the scalp or neck, in itself, is an indicator of a poorer prognosis.

"We think there's something different about scalp and neck melanomas," Thomas said. "This gives us directions for research to look at tumor cell types in those areas at the molecular level and to see if there are differences. I'm interested in identifying the mutations that drive malignancy."

Thomas, Lachiewicz and their colleagues analyzed data from 13 National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program registries in nine states. Each case represented the first invasive melanoma diagnosed among non-Hispanic white adults between 1992 and 2003.

Patients with scalp or neck melanomas were older (59 years) than patients with other melanomas (55 years), and more likely to be male (74 percent versus 54 percent, respectively). In addition, scalp and neck melanomas were thicker (0.8 millimeters) than melanomas at other sites (0.6 millimeters) and more likely to be ulcerated. Lymph node involvement was also more common in patients with scalp-neck melanomas.

Melanomas on the extremities or on the face or ears had the best prognosis. The five-year melanoma-specific survival rate for patients with scalp or neck melanomas was 83 percent, compared with 92 percent for patients with melanomas at other sites. The ten-year survival rate was 76 percent for scalp or neck melanomas and 89 percent for other melanomas.

Journal reference: Arch Dermatol. 2008;144[4]:515-521.

Study co-authors are Drs. Marianne Berwick and Charles Wiggins of the University of New Mexico.

Funding was provided by the National Cancer Institute and a Holderness Medical Foundation Fellowship to Lachiewicz.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Most Lethal Melanomas Are On Scalp And Neck." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421170258.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2008, April 22). Most Lethal Melanomas Are On Scalp And Neck. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421170258.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Most Lethal Melanomas Are On Scalp And Neck." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080421170258.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins