Beware the Melanoma machine

Dermatologists hate the sun, they hate the sun–go to a dermatologist convention and see pasty faced people with hats on indoors.

Melanoma comes in many flavors, and the most benign flavor is getting diagnosed more because of a plethora of people who are afraid and docs ready to biopsy.

Do you really think the CDC is telling the truth about the rate of Melanoma, apples to apples?

Do you think the CDC doesn’t have a dog in the fight to scare people.

Oh, and did you read the recent report that sunscreens don’t prevent Melanoma?

And are you prepared to accept the idea that all melanomas are equally malignant and invasive.

And would you believe that the counts are sometimes puffed up by including other types of skin cancers when officials want to scare people. And did you know that squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers are only rarely invasive and deadly? Malignant melanoma can be a very bad and virulent skin cancer, no doubt.

Here’s the AMA news item on the report from the CDC.

CDC: Incidence of melanoma has doubled in the US in the last 30 years.
The Los Angeles Times (6/3, Kaplan) “Science Now” blog reports that “the incidence of melanoma…has doubled in the U.S. in the last 30 years and is on track to remain high unless Americans take more precautions to protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said” yesterday. The “Vital Signs study” was “published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.” The blog adds that while “Melanomas account for only 2% of skin cancers…they are the deadliest kind, according to the National Cancer Institute.”

On its website, CBS News (6/3, Cohen) reports that in a statement, Dr. Lisa Richardson, the director of the CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, said, “If we take action now, we can prevent hundreds of thousands of new cases of skin cancers, including melanoma, and save billions of dollars in medical costs.”

Melanoma rates up among US children, young adults. Health Day (6/3, Dallas) reports that research indicates that “melanoma…has increased by 250 percent among U.S. children and young adults since the 1970s.” The findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

Melanoma has attracted our attention before. Another scaremonger campaign reinforced by physicians with an agenda.

You would think melanoma is mowing people down–not so.

A JS archive on the issue:


10 responses to “Beware the Melanoma machine

  1. ernestncurtis

    I’m no expert in dermatology but I recall learning that sun exposure has nothing to do with it and it often develops in areas of the body that are least exposed to the sun on a regular basis.

    • @ernest–
      OK, now that you’ve opened up that subject, just what areas are we talking about here?

      • the parts that are under clothes and not as exposed.

        The exposed areas, for our purposes are face, hands, arms, neck—the origin of the meaning of red neck.

        John Dale Dunn MD JD Consultant Emergency Services/Peer Review Civilian Faculty, Emergency Medicine Residency Carl R. Darnall Army Med Center Fort Hood, Texas Medical Officer, Sheriff Bobby Grubbs Brown County, Texas 325 784 6697 (h) 642 5073 (c)

  2. that’s right ernest

  3. Of the two other skin cancers mentioned here, the SCC is the most likely to be invasive. It is very rare that the BCC is invasive.

    For the record I have had a BCC removed from the end of my nose. My husband had a SCC removed from his nose several years before I developed my BCC. Since then I have had some spots removed because they were Bowen’s Disease meaning that they were pre-SCC from my neck.

    The real issue here is that you have to look at skin and hair type as well as ethnic origin to determine who is more likely to get these skin cancers. The people in the firing line tend to be of Scot and Irish origin with red hair.

    A lot of people in my age group are now being diagnosed with these skin cancers, especially on their faces. There are several specific ways of treating people who have developed Bowen’s disease. Dry ice is not very nice and it stings a lot… in my case I had forgotten all about how much it really hurts (it is a long story so do not ask).

    Once again I will use anecdotal evidence but it may or may not prove your point here. Someone of my acquaintance had a skin cancer removed and afterwards he developed a tumor in his neck. It seems that the skin cancer had managed to spread. He received radiotherapy treatment and he is now clear of the skin cancer but he has had some other very iffy results from other tests. It can happen that way… whether there is or is not a link between the types of cancers… well I have to leave that to those who know best.

    In my country, especially where I am living at present we do not have to end up paying a fortune to get our skin cancers removed. In my area the skin check is provided for free by doctors who are trained to know what they are looking for… so it is either once a year or twice a year that a check is necessary.

    One other thing, here in Australia there are more and more younger people who are being diagnosed with melanoma. A lot of them have been spending long periods of time in the sun at the beach,

    When I was growing up we used such things as suntan lotion, but that meant getting a worse burn (for me) than if I had used nothing, and then the burn was not so bad.

    • Small point of contention, your doctors aren’t providing service for free. You pay through the back-end through your government so the bills aren’t transparent to you, but you are probably paying the same as you would if you had a private plan, like in the USA. People like government plans, because they think wrongly that there are 6 rich people who are taxed to death who are paying for the whole thing. The reality is, there just aren’t enough rich people to do that, and the brunt is on the middle class.

      • Our country is different to your own. We do not have private plans when it comes to visiting doctors!! You are correct that it is Medicare that takes up the cost, but “free” here means that there is no personal cost involved such as some kind of excess payment. In our country we pay a Medicare levy with our taxes.

        There are some cancer clinics where people are charged for the service. There are others like my local one where there is no charge and yes Medicare obviously covers the service. If there is something suspicious then a biopsy is performed on the spot (except if the doctor thinks that the area is too delicate). There is a return visit to get the biopsy results and further treatment at no additional cost to the patient.

        When I was referred to a specialist to have a BCC removed I had to pay up front $80 and then claim that from Medicare. Then I paid a further $300 for the removal of the BCC. It could have been worse because if I had gone to hospital for full anaesthetic I would have had to pay $800 up front. I chose the cheapest option.
        You see we do have an insurance plan. It covers most of our hospital costs but it does not cover the extras to see a doctor or a specialist. The plan covers optical, physiotherapy, podiatry and some other things.

        I recently went to an opthamologist for a 6 month check on my eyes and have ended up being more than $200 out of pocket because Medicare knocked back one of the claims based upon one of their unknown rules about how many times per year a service can be performed.

        We have no choice in the matter. The government determines the amount that we get back for what we have paid to the specialist. Very few specialists bulk bill meaning that we have to cough up the money for the appointment. These appointments are not cheap, Yet we have no choice.
        Prior to the 1970s when the ALP brought in Medibank we did in fact have a much fairer system. Our health insurance back then covered our doctor and specialist visits and it would be rare to be so much out of pocket.
        We are finding over the years that we are paying more and more out of pocket but we cannot deduct the payments from our taxes already paid because of legislation that prevents us from doing so. In fact in my family for some odd reason we are precluded from being able to make claims for medical expenses. It is another quirk in the system that has meant that we remain thousands of dollars out of pocket.

        We do not like the government plans. However, being a self-funded retiree I like going to a bulk-billing medical practice where I am not paying any extra to see the doctor. When it comes to the specialists appointments then that is a different matter. (I have been diagnosed with RA therefore I see a specialist on a regular basis)

  4. This is a bit of a paradox. Aren’t we also told that our young are turning obese because they don’t go out and play? How can we have it both ways?

  5. Vitamin D.

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