16 March 2012
People diagnosed with a thin melanoma have a 96 per cent chance of survival, according to a population-based Australian study.
The “heartening” finding of a positive outlook for the vast majority of people with thin melanoma comes from analysis of more than 26,700 cases from the Queensland Cancer Registry.
Researchers from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Cancer Council Queensland set out to establish survival rates, as despite being the most common melanoma diagnosis, the prognosis for people with thin melanoma has been little studied.
“We have confirmed that the outlook for patients with thin invasive melanoma is generally extremely positive, with only four patients in 100 dying of their disease,” the researchers said.
Overall the study showed that the thinner cutaneous melanomas are at diagnosis, the better the outlook.
People with tumours greater than 0.75mm thick were four times more likely to die than those with tumours less than 0.25mm.
Other predictors of poor outcome included age, with people aged older than 45 years more likely to die regardless of tumour thickness compared to younger people (under 25 years).
The researchers also noted that the site of the tumour on the body influenced the risk of death, as patients with tumours on the scalp or neck had a poorer outcome than those whose melanoma was located on the trunk.
Other determinants of poor outcome included male sex, acral lentiginous and nodular tumours compared to superficial spreading melanoma, and invasion of the entire papillary dermis compared to limited invasion.
Last Reviewed: 16 March 2012