Sen. John McCain’s Melanoma History

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent, commented on John McCain’s health on his blog:

"McCain has Stage IIA melanoma, which carries an average 10-year survival rate of 66 percent. Dermatologists say McCain’s odds are better because the odds improve the longer you go without a recurrence.

If you see the pictures of his face, you will no doubt see a scar running down the left side and persistent puffiness of his left cheek. This is from the aggressive operation he had to remove the cancer as well as the lymph nodes in the area, as well as part of his parotid gland."

Read the rest of the post here: John McCain’s health. Paging Dr. Gupta, 04/2008.

One way to remember the signs of melanoma is the mnemonic ABCDE:

Asymmetrical skin lesion
Border of the lesion is irregular
Color: melanomas usually have multiple colors
Diameter: moles greater than 5 mm are more likely to be melanomas than smaller moles
Evolution: the change of a mole may be a hint that the lesion is becoming malignant or
Elevation: the mole is raised or elevated above the skin.

A melanoma showing irregular borders and color, diameter over 10 mm and asymmetry (i.e. A, B, C and D). Image source: Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation license.

Related reading:

Melanoma - JAMA Patient Page illustrates the ABCDE of diagnosis, 2011.
Text based on Wikipedia, reviewed for medical validity.
Image source (top right): Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, public domain.
Skin cancer in the USA - follow Australia's successful "Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide" campaign - The Lancet, 2011.
Melanoma rates keep rising, esp. among young women - Tanning beds emit 10-15 times more UV radiation than midday sun

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