Melanoma Skin Cancer

DRG Category: 272

Mean LOS: 6.3 days

Description: MEDICAL: Major Skin Disorders with CC DRG Category: 269 Mean LOS: 7.4 days Description: SURGICAL: Other Skin,

Subcutaneous Tissue, and Breast Procedures with CC

M elanoma skin cancer is a type of skin cancer that originates from the melanocytes, frequently a nevus or mole. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells that are interspersed in the inner layer of the epidermis. Melanin is a dark brown pigment that protects the epidermis and the superficial vasculature of the dermis. Nevi or moles are small, circumscribed aggregates of melanocytes. It is thought that the ultraviolet radiation (from direct sunlight or tanning beds) damages the DNA of melanocytes, impairing the DNA control over how and when cells grow and divide. These skin lesions tend to be hereditary, begin to grow in childhood, and become more numerous in young adulthood.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and melanoma accounts for 4% of all skin cancer cases. Although the lifetime melanoma risk for the overall population is only 1.4%, melanoma is responsible for 79% of skin cancer deaths. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 59,580 new diagnoses of melanoma were expected in the year 2005, with 7700 deaths anticipated. Diagnoses of melanoma continue to increase; the number of new melanomas diagnosed per 100,000 people has jumped from 5.76 to 13.8 since 1973. The mortality rate per 100,000 people has increased by 50%; much of this increase in mortality is in older white males.

602 Melanoma Skin Cancer

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