Are we seeing the effects of public awareness campaigns? A 10-year analysis of Breslow thickness at presentation of malignant melanoma in the South West of England
JournalJournal of plastic, reconstructive & aesthetic surgery : JPRAS
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INTRODUCTION: The last 20 years has seen a marked improvement in skin cancer awareness campaigns. We sought to establish whether this has affected the presenting Breslow thickness of malignant melanoma in the South West. METHOD: This is a retrospective study looking at the first presentation of melanomas from 2003 to 2011. Data was accessed using the local online melanoma database. RESULTS: A total of 2001 new melanomas presented from 2003 to 2012 (Male:Female = 1:1.062). The average yearly number of melanomas was 200.1 (range = 138-312). The mean age was 62.5 years (range 12-99). Data was analysed using a Chi(2) test. For 0-1 mm melanomas, there is a significant difference in the observed versus expected values over the 10 years (p = 0.0018). There is an increasing proportion of 0-1 mm (thin) melanomas presenting year on year, with a positive linear trend. This is very statistically significant (p < 0.0001). The 1-2 mm melanomas are decreasing in proportion with a negative linear trend (p = 0.0013). The 2-4 mm are also decreasing in proportion (p = 0.0253). There is no significant change in the thick >4 mm melanomas (p = 0.1456). CONCLUSION: The proportion of thin 0-1 mm melanomas presenting in South West England has significantly increased from 2003 to 2012. There is no significant change in the thick >4 mm melanomas. This may be a result of increased public awareness due to effective public health campaigns which has significant prognostic and financial implications.