According to the Skin Cancer Foundation an estimated 9,730 people will die of melanoma in 2017. Although it accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, it is the most deadly form of skin cancer. If it isn’t caught early, melanoma can spread rapidly throughout the body and is much more difficult to treat.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh published in February in JAMA Oncology the results of an evaluation of the feasibility and success of population-based skin cancer screening. They promoted and offered full-body skin examination (FBSE) screenings for patients age 35 or older during their regular office visits with primary care physicians (PCPs) who were employed in a large health care system in western Pennsylvania (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, UPMC). These PCPs had been trained to perform the FBSE, which was now included in the electronic health record (EHR) as a recommended preventive service for patients 35 years or older.
The researchers found that 15.9 percent of the screen-eligible population chose to receive the FBSE and those patients were more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma, and, furthermore, the melanomas found in the screened population were a thinner invasive melanoma than those found in the unscreened population.
“Large-scale screening for melanoma within a United States health care system is feasible and can result in increased detection of thinner melanomas,” the study authors concluded.
They also noted that in this study a higher proportion of men and older patients chose to participate than in previous screening interventions. It is possible that some of these are men who have used erectile dysfunction drugs and are aware that they are being warned to have regular skin cancer screenings in light of the studies that have been linking Viagra and other PDE5 inhibitors to increased risk of melanoma.
“We have discovered that the cells of malignant melanoma also use the cGMP signaling pathway for their growth,” said Professor Robert of the University of Tübingen in March last year. As a result of sildenafil blocking PDE5 and opening up the cGMP pathway unhindered, the researchers found that “the melanoma begins to grow more vigorously.”