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Chances of Survival for Melanoma is High When Detected by Dermatologists

a non-dermatologist. Tumors diagnosed by dermatologists were thinner on average than those diagnosed by non-dermatologists (.86 millimeters vs. 1 millimeter). "We also looked at melanoma stage at diagnosis and observed significant differences between provider types, with a preponderance of thin melanoma (stage zero, or stage I or II) in the dermatologist group and a preponderance of thick melanoma (stage III or stage IV) in the non-dermatologist group," the authors write.

After six months, two years and five years, patients whose cancer was diagnosed by a dermatologist had a higher survival rate than those diagnosed by a non-dermatologist. "The two-year and five-year survival rates were 86.5 percent and 73.9 percent for the dermatologist group compared with 78.8 percent and 68.7 percent for the non-dermatologist group," the authors write. "When looking at the mortality rates by cause of death, both groups had similar non-cancer–related mortality rates. However, the dermatologist group had lower cancer-related mortality rates and a lower overall mortality rate."

Patients who visited dermatologists most likely had higher survival rates because their tumors were thinner and detected earlier, the authors note. "Although the difference between a melanoma that is .86 millimeters thick and one that is 1 millimeter thick does not correlate with different clinical stages, tumor thickness is a powerful predictor of patient survival and a likely driver of the outcomes we observed," the authors write.

"These results suggest that increasing access to dermatologists, particularly for older patients who have higher rates of melanoma, may represent one approach to improving melanoma-related health outcomes from a health policy perspective," the authors conclude.

Source-Eurekalert
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