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- Melanoma facts
- What is melanoma?
- What does melanoma look like? What are melanoma symptoms and signs?
- What if the skin changes are rapid or dramatic?
- What are the causes and risk factors for melanoma?
- How can people estimate their level of risk for melanoma?
- What are the types of melanoma?
- How is melanoma diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for melanoma?
- How do doctors determine the prognosis (outlook) of a melanoma?
- What methods are available to help prevent melanoma?
- What research is being done on melanoma?
- Where can people get more information about melanoma?
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What research is being done on melanoma?
Research in melanoma is headed in three directions: prevention, more precise diagnosis, and better treatment for advanced disease.
- Prevention: Public education and more widely available screening clinics can increase public awareness of the need for sun avoidance, sunscreen use, and early detection of suspicious spots.
- More precise diagnosis: Newer experimental techniques, such as the confocal scanning laser microscope, may help doctors make more certain calls on borderline or suspicious spots without having to biopsy.
- Better treatment for advanced disease: Because conventional chemotherapy has been disappointing with melanoma, researchers have turned their attention to biologic treatments of advanced melanoma to stimulate the body's own immune response against the tumor. These biologic treatments include interferon, interleukins, monoclonal antibodies, and tumor vaccines. Many of these treatments are still investigational and intended for patients with widespread, recurrent life-threatening disease.