"Older patients may lack mobility or are just tired of seeing so many doctors, and may oftentimes come in with thicker, more advanced lesions," Ashinoff said. "I have seen an increase in melanoma in younger patients, especially women, and tanning may play a significant role in this."
It is "ominous" that the study showed that incidence of thicker lesions is increasing, Ashinoff said. "This is the area where we have to change those statistics," she stressed.
"We need to get the word out so that patients may be diagnosed when totally curable with surgery," Ashinoff said. "Public education in places like Australia has made significant strides in decreasing melanoma rates. We need to do a better job in the U.S."
For more on melanoma, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Eleni Linos, M.D., Department of Dermatology, Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, Calif.; Robin Ashinoff, M.D., medical director, Dermatologic, Mohs and Laser Surgery, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.; Jeffrey C. Salomon, M.D., assistant clinical professor, plastic surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; January 2009, Journal of Investigative Dermatology