Cutaneous malignant melanoma. Publicity, screening clinics and survival—the Edinburgh experience 1982–90


Professor J.A.A.Hunter.


Summary The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma has increased considerably in south-east Scotland over recent years. In 1987 the Cancer Research Campaign launched a project to aid the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma. Edinburgh, chosen as one of seven centres in the U.K. to participate in the study, was provided with funding for a direct access pigmented lesion clinic from 1987 to 1989. The changes in the pattern of cutaneous malignant melanoma before, during and after the publicity campaign have been examined; between 1982 and 1990. The incidence of malignant melanoma doubled from 5.7 to 11.4/100,000 per annum. The percentage of thin tumours (Breslow thickness ≤ 1.5 mm) increased steadily and significantly (from 43% in 1982 to 68% in 1990), but the number of thick tumours (Breslow thickness > 3.0 mm) remained constant over the same period (22 ±3.8), The influence of Publicity was assessed using a questionnaire. Those who were influenced by publicity were stgnificantly younger and had more thin tumours (Breslow ≤ 1.5 mm) than those who were uninfluenced by publicity. Five-year survival has significantly increased from 70% in the 1982–84 cohort to 84% in the 1987–89 cohort. The effect of the publicity campaign has been beneficial, but the impact on mortality cannot yet be assessed.