- Melanoma is in epidemic growth at over a 3% rise in cases per year.
- In 2005 alone, the American Cancer Society estimated over 59,000 new cases resulting in over 7000 plus deaths yearly.
- Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer currently in the United States and worldwide.
- The incidents of melanoma are rapidly increasing for women under the age of 40. In fact, in women ages 25-29, melanoma is the primary cause of cancer death, and in women ages 30-34, melanoma is second only to breast cancer as the most common cause of cancer death.
- Melanoma skin cancer accounts for approximately 4% of all skin cancers each year. It is, however, the most deadly, least treatable of all skin cancers, accounting for over 70% of skin cancer related deaths.
- Melanoma occurs in ALL age groups, including children.
- Melanoma can strike anyone. The mechanism of initiation of melanoma from normal skin is unknown.
- Research has not yet identified any specific genetic locus.
- Sometimes a primary skin lesion is never found.
- Multiple risk factors exist for the development of melanoma including: UV exposure; moles, especially atypical or dysplastic moles; and increase risk if an individual has greater than 50 moles.
- Chances of survival are great when superficial melanoma is found and diagnosed early.
- Advanced stage melanoma (Stage III) occurs where melanoma has metastasized to the lymphnodes. Stage III individuals with a non-ulcerated primary have a 5 year survival rate of 63-69% and a 10 year survival rate of 57-63%. Stage III individuals with an ulcerated primary have a 5 year survival rate of 24-29% and a 10 year survival rate of 15-24%.
- Late stage melanoma (Stage IV) occurs where melanoma has metastasized to major organs. Stage IV individuals with have a 5 year survival rate of 7-9% and a 10 year survival rate of 3-6%.
- At present, there is no cure for late stage melanoma or therapy available that consistently treats later stages of melanoma successfully.