Patient characteristics, methods of diagnosis and treatment of melanoma in the United States

C. M. Sutherland*, J. S. Chmiel, D. E. Henson, M. P. Cunningham, B. B. Peace, D. P. Winchester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The American College of Surgeons performed a patient care and evaluation study of melanoma for 1981 and 1987 to determine the presenting symptoms, methods of evaluation, clinical management and resulting outcome. Melanomas of the skin, eye, mucous membrane, metastases with unknown primary site and miscellaneous sites were included. Details concerning 5,004 patients from 681 hospitals in the study in 1981 and 6,900 patients from 844 hospitals in the study in 1987 were obtained-most melanomas were located in the skin; a decline in symptoms occurred at initial diagnosis; an increase in age at first diagnosis was reported; most melanomas were in Caucasian patients; slightly more melanomas occurred in men than women; more melanomas occurred in men on the head and neck and trunk, and more in the lower extremity in women; most tumors were not large in diameter; a significant shift was reported to lower levels of Clark's invasion, and a significant amount of unknowns existed in the Breslow's thickness of invasion. The large number of unknowns makes analysis difficult, but there seems to be some shift toward thinner levels of Breslow's in tumors in which it was known, from 1981 to 1987. Only a small proportion of patients in the current series was known to have node involvement or known distant metastases. An overall decline in diagnostic studies occurred between 1981 and 1987.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalSurgery Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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