Frank McCourt, 78, Dies of Metastatic Melanoma

Frank McCourt dies of skin cancer
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Metastatic melanoma has taken Frank McCourt, 78. McCourt grew up in Limerick, Ireland before moving to New York City where he taught school. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir “Angela’s Ashes.” McCourt died in Manhattan on Sunday July 19, 2009.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. It is almost always curable in its early stages. If melanoma is not caught early, it can advance and spread to other parts of the body. It then be becomes hard to treat and can be fatal.

Melanoma is much less common than basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of all skin cancers, but accounts for the most deaths from skin cancers.

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The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2009, there will be 8,650 fatalities in the U.S. The number of new cases of invasive melanoma is estimated at 68720. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 1 in 50 for whites, 1 in 1,000 for blacks, 1 in 200 for Hispanics.

Everyone is at some risk for melanoma, but increased risk depends on several factors: sun exposure, number of moles on the skin, skin type and family history (genetics).

If you are in any of these risk groups, you can protect yourself and your children by practicing safe sun habits, remembering to examine yourself regularly, watching for the warning signs and getting yearly exams by a dermatologist or other physician experienced in skin care.

Sources
New York Times
American Cancer Society
Skin Cancer Foundation

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