Physician Resources Home arrow Medical News arrow Characteristics of Fast Growing Skin Cancers Identified
Characteristics of Fast Growing Skin Cancers Identified
Written by Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D.   

Despite the seriousness of melanoma compared to other skin lesions, there has so far been only anecdotal description of the characteristics of rapidly growing melanoma.

Melanomas are more likely to grow rapidly if they are thicker, symmetrical, elevated, and/or have regular borders, according to a study published in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology.

Wendy Liu, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, East Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues analyzed melanoma growth rate in 404 patients (222 male, 182 female, average age 54.2) with invasive melanoma. The number of typical and atypical moles was recorded by a dermatologist and, after a diagnosis of melanoma, patients were interviewed to obtain information about demographics, skin cancer risk factors, the characteristics of the tumor and who first detected the cancer.

Patients and their families were also asked to recall the date at which they first noticed a spot on their skin and the date when they noticed the marking had changed or become suspicious. The researchers used these two dates, the date that the melanoma was removed, and the thickness of the tumor at the time of removal to estimate the growth rate of the melanoma. The tumors with a faster mitotic rate also had a faster growth rate of (as determined by the researchers’ formula).

A high rate of growth was associated with tumor thickness, ulceration, amelanosis, regular borders, elevation, in individuals 70 years or older, in men and in those with fewer moles and freckles. Surprisingly, several risk factors for the development of melanoma were not associated with the rate of growth, including the number of atypical moles or solar lentigines, history of sun damage or blistering sunburns, skin type, eye color, family or personal history of melanoma, and current or childhood sun exposure.

The authors suggested that identifying characteristics of faster growing melanomas might allow more rapid diagnosis and treatment of aggressive cancers.


JAMA and Archives Media Release

Rate of Growth in Melanomas: Characteristics and Associations of Rapidly Growing Melanomas Arch Dermatol. 2006;142:1551-1558.

About the Author

Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D. is a cancer biologist by training, a medical writer and an experienced science educator.

The author has no financial relationship to any of the companies listed in the article.


From the NetDoc medical news feed.

< Prev   Next >

Common Diseases

Swine Flu - Updates and information on H1N1 2009 (AKA Swine Influenza) pandemic.

Ankylosing spondylitis - Current protocols for diagnosis and treatment options.

Wegener granulomatosis - Autoimmune etiology and clinical course.

Diabetes - disease and management information, including diagnosis, typical treatment plans and diabetes supplies.


Medical Careers

The US medical jobs market has stayed hot for health care providers. Whether you believe that a provider shortage is in the offing or that the ratio of physicians-to-patients is too high, physician jobs and nursing jobs abound.

A wide variety of medical jobs can be found in the netdoc health care job listings. Particular strengths include permanent and locum tenens physician jobs, nursing jobs across the US, and radiology positions.

Other resources include physician salary information, medical career guidance, and the ability to post physician jobs.


When hiring your medical practice office manager, what was the most important consideration?
Copyright 2005 - 2020 Medical Resource Group, LLC. All rights reserved.