Study: Frequent Dermatologist Visits Boost Melanoma Survival Rates


New research suggests that patients with melanoma who engage in more frequent visits to the dermatologist show higher rates of survival.

"Guidelines recommend that patients with melanoma undergo dermatologic examination at least annually," the authors wrote in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. "Adherence to follow-up and its impact on survival are unclear."

The authors, seeking to determine the adherence level to annual dermatologic follow-up in patients with primary cutaneous melanoma, conducted a retrospective inception cohort analysis of adults with primary invasive melanoma in Ontario from 2010 to 2013 (follow-up in 2018). According to the study results, only 28% of patients saw a dermatologist at least annually (median follow-up, 5.0 years). Greater adherence to annual visits to the dermatologist was linked with a reduction in melanoma-specific mortality compared with lower levels of adherence (adjusted hazard ratio 0.64, 95% CI 0.52-0.78). Predictors of adherence included younger age, female sex, higher income level, greater access to dermatology care, stage 2/3 melanoma, prior keratinocyte carcinoma, fewer comorbidities, and any other outpatient visit in the 12 months prior to melanoma diagnosis.

"Adherence to annual dermatology visits after melanoma diagnosis was low," the authors wrote. "Greater adherence may promote better patient survival but warrants confirmation in further research including randomized trials."

Study limitations included its observational design and inability to identify skin examinations performed by non-dermatologists.

Source: Huang Y, et al. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2024;90(6):P1161-1169. Doi: 10/1016/j.jaad.2024.02.015.

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