Prevention, diagnosis, referral and management of melanoma of the skin

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Melanoma of the skin is an increasingly common tumour which usually occurs in white-skinned people, particularly those with pale, sun-sensitive skin and many moles. A fifth of cases occur in young adults, so the cancer has a large impact in terms of years of life lost. The tumour often has a slow early growth rate during which curable lesions may be detected and removed. Physicians therefore have the potential to reduce mortality.

This guideline was developed to promote the early diagnosis of melanoma of the skin. It provides clinicians with a practical, visual guide to recognise melanoma of the skin, and includes an extensive series of photographs of moles, melanomas and other skin lesions. The guideline will be of particular relevance to general practioners and other healthcare professionals who are regularly involved in examining patients and therefore their skin and may be able to recognise melanoma and reduce mortality.

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