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If the risk of melanoma makes you avoid sun-exposure, here are some news for you.

Are you worried about melanoma? Scared of being in sunlight and take all kind of precautions to reduce your risk?  Maybe you already are a victim and have had a lesion cut out? In any case, you are not the only one. In USA alone almost one million people have a history of melanoma. The melanoma epidemic seems to be real.

melanoma survey by dermatologistNew report reveals astonishing melanoma statistics

If you are one of the victims that have been put under the knife and had a skin-lesion removed, you should know that there is a 3000% chance that you have had an unnecessary excision. That is at least what a team of international researchers in Italy has found out after a three year long research covering 10 years of data from 21 clinical centers and 2 dermatopathology units from 13 countries. The latest (July 2012) issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology contains a report from the survey “Accuracy in melanoma detection: A 10-year multi-center survey”. The purpose of the survey was to investigate the relationship between necessary excision of malign melanoma and unnecessary removals of benign lesions. In non-specialized clinics the number of unnecessary removals was as much as 30 times higher than the necessary excisions. In specialized clinics, the ratio sank to less than 10 times.

90% of people diagnosed with melanoma might suffer unnecessary.

This means that in some dermatologists’ clinics, 90 out of 100 “melanoma-victims” were misled to have a piece of their skin sliced away. When extrapolating the average figures in the survey to one million American victims, as many as 900,000 may have suffered needlessly. And as if the personal sufferings by almost a million of innocent victims are not enough, the report also states: “…unnecessary excision of benign lesions increases morbidity and healthcare costs.”

What makes people line up to dermatologists receptions?

So if there is no real “melanoma-epidemic” going on, what then makes millions of people queue outside the dermatologists’ doors, worried about a spot on their skin? And what makes the good feeling of being in the sun to get a dark lining of guilt if not having slathered on a bottle of sun-screen lotion first? Dr. Guiseppe Argenziano, the lead author of the report, explains the increased amounts of visits like this … ”Today especially young people with many nevi go to the internet and discover to be at risk to develop melanoma. That’s why they come more frequently than in the past.” The fact is that we are victims to a cleverly executed marketing campaign for sales of sun-protection cosmetics. Even if sunlight has not become more dangerous today than it was before sun-screen was invented, we are made to believe that it has and that we have to protect ourselves all the time. And the melanoma statistic is the foundation of this black marketing campaign.

The sponsors of melanoma statistics make billions in sales of remedies.

If we take a look at who are the sponsors of campaigns like “the melanoma awareness month”, we will find the main producers of sun-screen cosmetics (for example La Roche-Posay). And if we examine reports supporting the inflated skin-cancer statistics and risks from UV-exposure, we will find that they are bankrolled by companies making remedies for skin-disorders (like Galderma). Dermatologists and their branch-organizations are playing along because they are either corrupt or misled to believe that they are actually doing something noble. More surprisingly, the “melanoma-epidemic” is also taken for real by cancer councils and health authorities. This is harder to explain since the side-effect from overprotection against melanoma has led to another, and in this case real, epidemic; the vitamin D deficiency that has been proved to increase the risk for all types of cancers.

What is an acceptable error margin in order to catch most real melanoma?

A certain number of unnecessary incisions is of course inevitable in a dermatologists quest for capturing and destroying all the real melanoma among his patients. According to Dr. Argenziano, this number should be something between 5 and 15. This mean that for every incision of a real melanoma, it is acceptable to cut away up to 15 benign skin-lesions. This reality also has an impact on research about melanoma and the risk-factors for melanoma. A typical case-control study collects the “cases” from the official cancer-statistics (which includes data from specialized as well as non-specialized clinics). If no filtering is done to include only certain types of melanoma (for example only to include nodular melanoma) and no adjustment is made for the NNE (number-needed-to-excise) ratio in the final calculations, the result of the study will show at least (but most likely much more than) five times too many “cases” than the actual number of real, life-threatening, melanoma among the people in the “case”-group. This can mean that many studies trying a prove a positive relationship between certain risk-factors (e.g. UV-exposure) and melanoma have serious and systematic flaws and should be re-evaluated with adjustments for the NNE-ratio.

Do you know if your case was real or not?melanoma victim self scan

Giving the sensational findings in Dr. Argenziano’s and his team’s report, the question is how many of the excessive skin-cancer victims that were actually informed about having had been unnecessary put under the scalpel. Or maybe they just were happy to learn that their suspected melanoma were harmless and to have “fought the big C” and became a cancer-survivor. In any case, with this new statistic made public, it is possible to foresee a flood of requests for facts about their cases from many of those innocent victims. And maybe a new lucrative market for lawyers specialized in medical mistreatment claims.

Always get a second opinion.

The report also highlights the importance of getting a second (or even a third) opinion from a specialized clinic before you decide to have a lesion removed.
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19 thoughts on “Report: 90 Percent Of All Melanoma Cases Might Not Be Real”

  1. I think the watchword here is ‘moderation’. I’ve never heard or read any suggestion that we should stay out of the sun completely or, worse still, avoid light! But surely it’s wise to undertake some sensible precautions to avoid a potential skin cancer – and to avoid agonising sunburn?

    No-one is suggesting we hide from the sun, just that we should take some personal responsibility for this area of our health. And one thing is very undisputable: the ageing effects on your skin from excessive sun exposure.

    As for lesions being removed unnecessarily, I’d rather have that than wait for it to turn into something harmful.

  2. Adrienne Allen

    Great article! I have been reticent to outright expose “sunscare” to my clients, but certainly hint around to it when we are discussing Smart Tanning and moderation. The fact of the matter is, that we do not live in a society that is geared towards moderation, and it is our job in the tanning industry to not only educate our clients about the dangers of too much sun, and of too much SUNSCREEN. These statistics don’t necessarily shock me, as there is also an epidemic of unnecessary Cesarean sections in the US as well. While there are some reputable skin cancer dermatologists in the field, I think in general we live in a diagnosis happy society where critical thinking is not exercised. Get a second opinion before going under the scalpel.

  3. That is really shocking. I’ve honestly always bought into the ‘the sun is the main precursor of skin cancer’ belief, particularly when Australian skin cancer statistics are brought up, but it’s refreshing to hear the other side of the story for once.

    Diane’s final remark hits a chord with me, though: ‘As for lesions being removed unnecessarily, I’d rather have that than wait for it to turn into something harmful.’ I guess I am in the same boat. Perhaps statistics of skin lesions NOT being true signs of melanoma are on your side, but I think most people faced with the choice would rather go under the knife than be sorry. Goran, can you provide any further insight here?

  4. I’ve had a few sun spots. I used an anti-fungal cream and they were gone in 2 weeks.

  5. Hi Diane,
    Actually most of the advice coming from dermatologists and cosmetologists do suggest that you cover yourself with sun-protection cosmetics as soon as you step outside. The result is equal to sun-avoidance. Regarding the “better safe than sorry” thinking, it is of course very human. What the authors of the study is saying is just that, given the statistics they have found, you should be as sure as you can (by getting a second opinion from a specialized dermatology center) that the lesion really is malign before you let anyone cut you.
    P.S. The aging effects are also not unavoidable. Se this post:

  6. Dermatologists, or skin care doctors, have expertise in the care of normal skin as well as in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of skin conditions, including skin cancers.Dermatologists also diagnose and treat people with disorders affecting the hair and nails. In addition, dermatologists are knowledgeable in the management of cosmetic disorders of the skin (for example, hair loss, scars, and wrinkles).;

    Check out our new web-site too

  7. “…you should know that there is a 3000% chance that you have had…”

    That sounds like a joke about people who don’t understand numbers, but I guess it’s meant to be serious. I’d be very wary about taking advice from anyone who doesn’t see that it’s a logical impossibility to have more than a 100 percent chance of anything. We’re talking about some industrial-grade stupidity here. (And I bet when he reads this, he’ll argue he’s right based on the alleged 30 unnecessary mole removals.)

  8. Melanoma is quite a scary thing, when tanning often I noticed spots that scared me quite a bit. Fortunately they turned out to be what was known as ‘Haole Rot’ or ‘Tinea Versicolor’. I was able to treat these sun spots with over-the-counter products and even some anti-fungal essential oils. Hyper-pigmentation is quite the embarrassing condition.

  9. Thomas Balshi

    Melanoma – The skin cancers which start in melanocytes form (cells that make the pigment melanin). It may begin in a mole, but it can easily begin in other pigmented tissues as well such as eyes or intestines.
    I am not fully convinced with your opinion about “90 Percent of All Melanoma Cases Might Not Be Real”. Dermatologists do their best to resolve skincare issues for clients. It is most demanding and difficult job, so choose the dermatologist very carefully. Always look for certified dermatologist for skincare treatment.

    Thank you

    Dr. Thomas Balshi
    Dermatologist in Delray Beach, FL

  10. Dr. Danielle Manolakos

    Now a days, skin problem is the best problem for woman.but there is problem here is solve.


  11. That’s really scary. Thanks for the article, at least we’re aware. Melanoma is a nightmare.

    I wanna share with you also a warning. Beware of this doctor on my link. I’ve listed him on RipOff.

    Thanks again for this article.

  12. That’s really shocking. The fact of the matter is, that we do not live in a society that is geared towards moderation, and it is our job in the tanning industry to not only educate our clients about the dangers of too much sun, and of too much sunscreen. But on the serious note I really enjoyed your post.

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