Increasing sun protective behaviors and informing the public about melanoma, as well as other skin cancers are essential. Early detection and treatment reduce morbidity rates. In this course learn about melanoma subtypes, patient assessments, prevention options, and much more!
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States and around the world. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately one in five Americans will develop a basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or a melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. Melanoma, which was once thought to be uncommon, is the most serious type of skin cancer. It accounts for 75% of deaths associated with cutaneous cancers. (See Melanoma facts.) The skin cancer burden in the United States continues to rise, creating a substantial annual cost for treatment and management.
Prevention strategies and early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of melanoma can lower the disease incidence. Nurses’ role in primary and secondary prevention measures—including assessments, risk screenings, and patient education—can improve patient outcomes and help reduce healthcare costs. In addition, advanced practice RNs who perform annual skin exams have an opportunity to identify, detect, and biopsy suspicious skin lesions; collaborate in care; and make timely referrals. Melanoma is easily treated when it’s identified at an early stage, making early diagnosis key to increased survival rates.
Key Learning Outcomes
- Describe patient assessment for melanoma.
- Compare the subtypes of melanoma.
- Discuss strategies for skin cancer prevention.
Kathileen Boozer, DNP, APRN, FNPC
Kathileen Boozer is an assistant clinical professor at Louise Herrington School of Nursing at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.