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Older Men Need a Hand in Inspecting for Possible Melanomas

Posted: April 24, 2009

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Dermatologists are trying to publicize that message because "of cancers in general in the United States, the only one in which the mortality rate is not dropping is melanoma," Geller said.

This is one appropriate occasion for a man to turn his back on his wife, Robinson said. "Most men in Western society depend on the women in their lives to mediate medical care—nagging, scolding, reminding," she said. "And the places where melanoma occur more readily are hard for the man to see—the back, the top of a bald head, behind the ears. With women, melanoma is more likely to occur on the lower leg."

When the inspection is made, "they should be asking the spouse to check for moles with border irregularity, color variation over the surface and with greater than six millimeter diameter," Robinson said. "You don't have to run to a doctor immediately. They grow at their own rate of speed. If you think you see suspicious features, come back in a month, and if it changes, go to the doctor."