Queenslanders Are Dying Increasingly From Thin Melanomas

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Thin melanomas, a form of skin cancer with lesions less than 1 mm thick, are killing more Queenslanders, a study reports.

The researchers say that while thicker melanomas have a higher risk of mortality, deaths from thin melanomas are rising quickly with a 9% jump in recorded deaths from 1990-1994 to 2005-2009 and only a 3% rise in mortality of thick melanomas.

According to a study in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, deaths due to thin melanomas is rising in Queensland.

While patients with thin melanomas have only a minimally increased risk of dying compared to the general population, patients with thicker melanomas have a much higher risk of mortality.

This has led to the perception that most deaths from melanomas are due to thick lesions.

However, few studies have examined the patterns of melanoma mortality by thickness over an entire population.

David Whiteman of the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and colleagues analysed data from the Queensland Cancer Registry for 4,218 patients who died from melanoma from 1990-2009.

They found the proportion of deaths from melanoma caused by thin lesions increased from 14% in 1990-1994 to 23% from 2005-2009.

In comparison there was only a slight rise in the proportion of deaths from thick lesions.

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