Melanoma is the fastest growing type of cancer in the US, with an estimated 54,200 new cases in the U.S. during 2003, according to the American Cancer Society. Melanoma is almost always curable in its early stages. But it is also likely to spread to other parts of the body.

Although many melanomas are completely cured, some spread so quickly disease could spread to the lymph nodes, lungs, brain, or other places, while the original skin melanoma is still small. Melanoma that has spread to other parts of the body may not be found until long after the first melanoma was removed from the skin. The PET scan can check to see if the cancer has spread.

As with all cancers, early diagnosis is the most important survival factor and PET scanning is playing an integral role in the clinical management of melanoma patients.

Sensitivity in detecting melanoma

Swetter S. et al. Clinical Positron Imaging, Vol. 3, No. 4, p 154, 2000

Melanoma Case Study