About Melanoma
The Melanoma Challenge

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, responsible for approximately 75% of skin cancer fatalities. There are an estimated 130,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed in the U.S. every year.  Every hour, one person in the U.S. dies of melanoma and 15 people are diagnosed with the disease, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

A National Cancer Institute report published in the July 10, 2008 online edition of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology indicates that the annual incidence of melanoma among young adult Caucasian women rose 50% between 1980 and 2004. Melanoma is the most common cancer in women aged 25 to 29 and the number-one cancer killer of women ages 30 to 35. Although no cure is currently available for advanced-stage melanoma, melanoma is virtually 100% curable if caught early.

If diagnosed early, a dermatologist removes melanoma at a cost of approximately $1,800 per patient. Treatment costs soar as the melanoma advances, rising to $170,000 per patient at the later stages and accounting for 90% of the overall melanoma treatment costs.

Because early detection is critical to survival, the American Cancer Society recommends that all Americans over the age of 20 undergo complete skin examinations during their periodic health check-ups. The individuals in the US with dysplastic nevi, a type of pigmented skin lesion associated with an increased risk of melanoma, warrant more frequent observation.

Melanomas are mainly diagnosed by dermatologists using visual clinical evaluation. Dermatologists assess clinically atypical pigmented skin lesions using the “ABCDEPRU” criteria: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variegation, Diameter greater than 6 mm, Evolving – a change in “ABCD” over time,Patient’s Concern, Regression, and Ugly Duckling. This assessment is subjective and results in missed melanomas as well as a highly variable ratio of benign lesions biopsied to melanomas detected; the biopsy ratio is as high as 50 to 1 for dermatologists.

MELA Sciences designed MelaFind® to assist in the evaluation of clinically atypical pigmented skin lesions that have one or more clinical or historical characteristics of melanoma when a dermatologist chooses to obtain additional information before making a final decision to biopsy to rule out melanoma.

Healthy Lesion and Invasive Melanoma
See a side-by-side comparison of a healthy lesion and invasive melanoma from the skins surface and beneath the surface of the skin.
From Melanocyte to Melanoma
The epidemiology and etiology of Melanoma.
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