Skin cancer has become the most common neoplasm in the United States. With early diagnosis and appropriate management, most skin cancers have an overall 5-year survival rate of 95%. Cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), however, has a significantly higher morbidity and mortality, resulting in 65% of all skin cancer deaths. Although the long-term survival rate for patients with metastatic melanoma is only 5%, early detection of CMM carries an excellent prognosis, with surgical excision often being curative. Primary care physicians can play a critical role in reducing morbidity and mortality from CMM by recognizing patients at risk, encouraging the adoption of risk-reducing behaviors, and becoming adept at identifying suspicious lesions.
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