Saint Louis University Logo and Investigator Excessive sun-exposure could result in the development of melanoma skin cancer in an individual. Surgery may be required to treat this type of cancer. A team of experts have now discovered that along with surgery an application of topical cream could also be useful in treating this type of cancer. This claim was made by the experts from the Saint Louis University.

Melanoma is said to be the most deadly type of skin cancer. Seemingly it can also be credited to be the leading cancer in youngsters. This type of cancer may be characterized by uncontrolled development of pigment-producing cells which may suddenly materialize on the skin. The American Cancer Society is said to have estimated that more than 1 million people annually get diagnosed with this type of cancer in the U.S.

The investigators of this study mainly focused on two cases of the most common type of head and neck melanoma; lentigo maligna (LM) and lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM). LM is said to be the first stage of melanoma which is later followed by the invasive form of LMM. It has been stated that although lentigo maligna may be surgically removed; it may have a high rate of local recurrence.

To better understand this criterion, the investigators examined two patients who were said to be suffering from both LM and LMM. Surgery was stated to have been conducted on these patients to remove the area known to be infected with this disease. This system was followed by an application of the imiquimod topical cream on the outer area of the lentigo maligna.

The study results, in addition to the obtained results from other studies, seem to have certified that the imiquimod topical cream may be beneficial in such cases. The application of this cream apparently aids in diminishing the region requiring surgery, effectively controlling lentigo maligna and also possibly reduce the risk of recurrence.

Lead study investigator, Scott Fosko, MD, chairman of the department of dermatology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, says that, “While more study is needed to understand how the drug works and which patients are likely to benefit from it, we are optimistic that the drug may prove to be a good option for some patients. This may be an effective first line treatment.”

The study investigators believe that regular screenings may be helpful in detecting skin cancer in its earliest stage. They have suggested people who age 40 or above to undergo regular screening. They have even recommended those people to frequently undergo screening, who may have a family history of melanoma, have fair complexion, sun burn easily, or have many moles on their body. Even those people who get exposed to the sun or ultraviolet rays due to their occupation or from tanning salons also fall under the list of people who need to go for regular screenings.

This study has been reported in Dermatologic Surgery.