Melanoma 101: Introduction to a Deadly Skin Cancer

  • Medical Author: Jeffrey John Meffert, MD
  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Quick GuideSun-Damaged Skin: Pictures of Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns

Sun-Damaged Skin: Pictures of Sun Spots, Wrinkles, Sunburns

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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/30/2016

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