Melanoma: Prevention, Detection, and Treatment (cont.)

There are other trials of vaccine, so I always urge people to talk with their oncologist about the possibility of doing research in the clinical trial so that we can figure out what does work and not waste time giving people things that don't work.

There are lots of interesting things on the horizon, all the way from vaccines to smart therapy that's designed to make up for lost genes or block the action of broken genes. And for the first time in my career, I really do think we might be able to do something important for people whose disease has gotten inside them. It isn't today, probably not tomorrow, it's still off in the future.

The critical thing is to keep an eye on your skin and look for abnormal spots and see the ones that matter and take them to the doctor to make a diagnosis, often by doing a cheap, easy, outpatient biopsy.

My daughter is 16 and has several moles. I have had melanoma. How can I make her understand how important it is to have them checked?

I would try to find an excuse to get her into the hands and under the eyes of a dermatologist.

With a little luck she has acne and worried about that, so I would suggest that she go with you to the dermatologist to take care of the acne and also to get the skin looked at because sometimes a tendency to get melanoma runs in the family. If she has lovely skin, no acne, I would still nudge her in the direction of a good skin examination. Maybe she's shy and should see a dermatologist that's a woman.

In the big scheme of things, convincing her to look at her skin that's different and alien is another good thing to do. In the larger scheme of things, if you lean on her about the skin, maybe she'll say no but listen to you about not smoking, wearing seat belts and all of those other things which are just as important.

Our thanks to DuPont Guerry, MD, for joining us today.

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