Melanoma Q and A

How Did You Do?
Find the quiz question correct answers and the reasons for the answers below:
  1. The majority of melanomas occur from a changing mole. FALSE

    More than half of melanomas develop de novowhich means that they develop on the normal skin without a mole.
  2. Melanomas always have dark discoloration. FALSE

    A small subset of melanomas does not have brown or dark pigmentation. They are called amelanotic melanoma.
  3. Sunscreen with an SPF of 30 is twice as strong as one with SPF 15. FALSE

    SPF 30 blocks about 96.7 percent of the sun rays while SPF 15 blocks 93.3 percent. By doing the same math, SPF 50 blocks 98 percent and SPF 100 blocks 99 percent. Therefore, one gets marginal benefit after the SPF number is higher than 30.
  4. If a melanoma has spread to lymph nodes, the lung is the internal organ that has the higher risk of getting involved next. TRUE
  5. There are identified risk factors for developing melanoma. TRUE

    Risk factors for melanoma include a positive personal or family history of melanoma, multiple atypical or dysplastic nevi (unusual looking moles), light complexion, history of blistering sunburns, and use of tanning beds.
  6. Melanomas are only found on skin surfaces that are exposed to the sun. FALSE

    Melanoma can be found on any skin surface including areas with little or no history of sun exposure, mucous membranes, in the eyes, or it can spread (metastatic disease) without a clear site of origin.
  7. Early diagnosis is important for a melanoma patient. TRUE

    Early diagnosis is critical to patient outcome. Even melanomas with one millimeter of thickness at the time of diagnosis carry a risk of recurrence and death. Therefore, physicians should err toward evaluating and removing changing lesions.
  8. Clinical features, or physical appearance, of a skin lesion can help identify melanomas. TRUE

    Clinical features that help guide early identification include the "A, B, C, D and E's":
    “A” asymmetry
    “B” irregular or notched borders
    “C” irregular distribution of color
    “D” diameter of 6 mm or greater
    “E” new elevation, erosion or ulceration
  9. A shave biopsy, or a biopsy that removes the outermost layer of skin, is the best approach for a skin lesion suspected of being a melanoma. FALSE

    Ideally, multiple layers of the lesion should be removed, not just the outer one. During an elliptical or punch biopsy, a small round or ellipitcal piece of skin is removed so the full thickness of the lesion can be examined in an biopsy.
  10. Melanoma is usually curable once spread to distant sites. FALSE

    Melanoma is usually incurable once it has metastasized to other areas, such as the lung. New insights are critically needed to help achieve better patient outcomes.