Cutaneous malignant melanoma is no longer rare. The incidence in Scotland,1 Norway2 and Queensland3 has doubled in recent years and in Scotland melanoma is now commoner than Hodgkin’s disease. In the UK about 3000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Sun exposure, particularly episodic severe sunburn in those who tan poorly, may be an important causal factor.4 Malignant melanoma is curable if treated early but usually fatal once it disseminates. All doctors should therefore be able to recognise its clinical features and understand its treatment.
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