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Regular doctor visits may greatly diminish skin cancer deaths
Date:5/7/2014

nd access to care, could be predictors of melanoma mortality.

For the retrospective observational study, researchers reviewed melanoma cases of 251 Caucasian patients from 2001-2007, of which 158 were men. The patients all had health insurance and were eligible for care in a health maintenance organization during the study period. The patients' average age was 60, the age at which patients are typically diagnosed with melanoma.

Surprisingly, researchers found that visiting a specialist prior to melanoma diagnosis may reduce their risk of dying by 90 percent.

"This suggests that these patients who do better may be more engaged in their care or have less outside demands distracting from their care," Dr. Eide says. "It's not just about having insurance and having a doctor you see, it may be about being invested and an advocate for your own health. We found that regardless of their cancer stage at diagnosis, these patients who saw more specialists and had compliance with their fasting lipid panels and other screenings had a better prognosis. This may suggest a role for the patient in improving their health by being engaged and prioritizing their care."

With health care under transformation from the Affordable Care Act, more patients than ever before will have access to care covered by insurance including preventive services without copays. However, having access to care is not the same as using the care available in the community.

In 2012, the percentage of people who had a usual place to go for medical care was 85.8 percent compared to 86.8 percent in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2012 National Health Review Survey. The survey also found that 6.2 percent of the population failed to obtain medical care due to cost.

"As we have more and more patients becoming insured through opportunities with the Affordable Care Act," Dr. Eide says, "we now have the burden going from not havi
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Contact: David Olejarz
David.Olejarz@hfhs.org
313-874-4094
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert  

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