“The contribution that health promotion and preventative care can make is huge,” said Dr Janda in an email to Cancer Therapy Advisor. “So far we have made some headway in reducing morbidity and mortality rates by early detection of melanomas, but more could be achieved, especially if we find melanomas that could potentially be deadly at an early stage.”
In the editorial, Drs Janda and Soyer recommended that dermatologists advise patients with risk factors for developing melanoma to begin partner-assisted monitoring and self-examination at a younger age than others.
Dr Janda said she believes that personalized medicine will become more critical as knowledge about the pathways to melanoma increases. The report “is just 1 example for the careful epidemiological work that needs to be done to better understand whether there are certain subgroups of the population for whom we can give more precise advice,” she said. “There are many other examples that people can use to get a good feeling for the risk group that they are in.”
She stressed that continuing to describe the risk factors of melanoma in more sophisticated detail, as well as using that information to develop better and more personal risk communication, are critical to reaching people when they are first learning about the topic.
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“Public health campaigns are also needed to raise the awareness more widely and make people interested to learn a bit more about what they can do to decrease their risk of melanoma, or what signs and symptoms they should be taking note of and see a doctor about,” she said.
- Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program. National Institutes of Health website. https://www.nih.gov/precision-medicine-initiative-cohort-program. Accessed November 11, 2016.
- Watts CG, Madronio C, Morton RL, et al. Clinical features associated with individuals at higher risk of melanoma: A population-based study. JAMA Dermatol. 2016 Nov 9. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3327 [Epub ahead of print]
- Janda M, Soyer P. Greater precision in melanoma prevention. JAMA Dermatol. 2016 Nov 9. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.3472 [Epub ahead of print]