L. Fratino, I. Lenisa, S. Meier, M. A. Pizzichetta
Vol.2 (2017), issue 2, pag. 10-20

Received 10/05/2017
Accepted for pubblication 07/06/2017
Published Jun. 2017
Review by Single-blind
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The number of melanoma cases among the elderly is expected to increase owing to the aging population. Older men are at higher risk of developing melanoma, and once diagnosed, are at higher risk of dying from this cancer compared with other demographic groups. Melanoma in elderly often present with thicker lesions and a truncal location compared with older women, making self-detection less likely. Older age is an independent, adverse prognostic factor even after taking all other factors into account and are less likely to receive standard surgery for melanoma. Older men are less likely than women to see a dermatologist, to have a regular physician, or to practice self-examination for skin cancer and, presumably at least in part for these reasons, tend to present with more advanced melanoma. Melanoma seems to have a different pattern of presentation, pathology and outcome dependent on the age of the patient, it remains unclear whether the behavior of the cancer is because of the biology of the tumor or whether it is, in part, due to a different host response to the disease.
Conclusion: Melanoma is recognized as an increasing problem, and the health care burden of this disease in the elderly is expected to increase with the aging of the population. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms and biology of melanoma development and metastasis will lead to improved prevention, earlier detection and personalized treatment strategies for elderly melanoma patients. Screening programs should be encouraged in this high risk population group.