You’ve heard us share the statistics again and again; melanoma is one of the most common cancers in adolescents and young adults – or AYA’s as they are called. Now new research reinforces why early detection is more critical than ever.
For any human, the key to beating melanoma is detection at the very earliest stage before it has spread. But researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California determined it is especially crucial when it comes to AYA patients. When found early, adolescents and young adults have a much better chance of surviving melanoma than older adults. But when melanoma has advanced to stage IV, when it is metastatic and has spread through the body, young people have only a 20% chance of surviving melanoma; a much worse rate than adults over the age of 40.
The lead researcher on the project is Dr. Katherine Y. Wojcik. Since the majority of melanoma research is focused on those over the age of 65, Dr. Wojcik felt the need to dive into the realities of the adolescent and young adult populations. ( can we just say a huge THANK YOU for that?!) According to Wojcik, “Advanced melanoma has poor survival, particularly in AYA’s , yet information on the contributing factors remains scarce, lacking the level of detail readily available for older adult patients”.
An earlier study by Johns Hopkins researchers found that melanoma is more aggressive and more invasive in young people than older adults. http://bit.ly/37HGxyH
Considering both these studies, with increased rates of diagnosis, it reinforces our belief that prevention through routine skin screening, along with other prevention methods, is a much better solution.
“To improve AYA survival, early melanoma detection is critical, Dr. Wojcik says. “Greater awareness, suspicion and screening for AYA melanoma may disrupt delays in diagnosis and reduce the excess burden of mortality from stage IV melanoma in young people.” http://bit.ly/3XW25ys
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why at the Claire Marie Foundation we continue to shine a light on preventing melanoma in adolescents and young adults through awareness, education and prevention. We are especially proud of our free melanoma skin screening program which has found 16% of the nearly 1,400 young people screened by our dermatological partners, needed biopsy for suspicion of melanoma. As we say – #preventionisthecure.
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