Melanoma surgery delays are common for Medicare patients

April 08, 2015

New Haven, Conn. -- One in five Medicare patients with melanoma experience delays in getting surgery, a Yale study found.

The research was published April 8 in JAMA Dermatology.

Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is a leading cause of new cancer diagnoses in the United States. A delay between diagnosis and surgery to remove melanomas may cause patients psychological harm and affect health-care quality. Using the national Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result-Medicare database, the Yale team conducted the first population-based analysis of delay of surgery among Medicare patients with melanoma.

The researchers reviewed data on more than 32,000 Medicare patients diagnosed with melanoma. They found that 22% of patients waited longer than 1.5 months for melanoma surgery, and 8% were delayed more than 3 months. Although no gold standard exists, a timeframe of less than six weeks between diagnosis and surgery has been recommended.

"Delay for melanoma surgery in this population is more common than we expected," said Jason Lott, M.D., who was first author of the study as postdoctoral fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine.

Delays were most common for patients who were treated by providers who were not dermatologists -- such as primary care physicians or general surgeons. That particular finding may point to opportunities to increase coordination of care between providers who diagnose and treat melanoma patients, said the researchers.

The study revealed significant variation in the timing of melanoma surgery for Medicare patients after diagnosis. "We are working to identify reasons for delay in the time it takes for patients to get surgery," said Lott. "That information will help ensure that we are delivering more prompt and patient-centered surgical care."
-end-
Other Yale authors include Deepak Narayan, M.D. Pamela R. Soulos, Jenerius Aminawung, M.D., and Cary P. Gross, M.D.

The study was supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and developmental funding from the P30 Cancer Center Support Grant at Yale Cancer Center.

Citation: JAMA Dermatology

http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?doi=10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.119

Yale University

Related Melanoma Articles from Brightsurf:

Boosting treatments for metastatic melanoma
University of Cincinnati clinician-scientist Soma Sengupta, MD, PhD, says that new findings from her and Daniel Pomeranz Krummel's, PhD, team might have identified a treatment-boosting drug to enhance effectiveness of therapies for metastatic cancer and make them less toxic, giving patients a fighting chance at survival and improved quality of life.

A promising new tool in the fight against melanoma
An Edith Cowan University (ECU) study has revealed that a key blood marker of cancer could be used to select the most effective treatment for melanoma.

New targets for melanoma treatment
A collaborative study led by Monash University's Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (ONJCRI) has uncovered new markers (HLA-associated peptides) that are uniquely present on melanoma tumours and could pave the way for therapeutic vaccines to be developed in the fight against melanoma.

Innovative smartphone-camera adaptation images melanoma and non-melanoma
An article published in the Journal of Biomedical Optics (JBO), ''Point-of-care, multispectral, smartphone-based dermascopes for dermal lesion screening and erythema monitoring,'' shows that standard smartphone technology can be adapted to image skin lesions, providing a low-cost, accessible medical diagnostic tool for skin cancer.

Antihistamines may help patients with malignant melanoma
Can a very common allergy medicine improve survival among patients suffering from the serious skin cancer, malignant melanoma?

Blood test for deadly eye melanoma
A simple blood test could soon become the latest monitoring tool for the early detection of melanoma in the eye.

Analysis of melanoma in US by age groups
This study used registry data to determine annual rates of melanoma in pediatric, adolescent, young adult and adult age groups, and the findings suggest an apparent decrease among adolescent and young adults between 2006 and 2015 but increases in older adults.

Vitamin D dials down the aggression in melanoma cells
Vitamin D influences the behaviour of melanoma cells in the lab by making them less aggressive, Cancer Research UK scientists have found.

B cells linked to immunotherapy for melanoma
Immunotherapy uses our body's own immune system to fight cancer.

Five things to know about melanoma
'Five things to know about ... melanoma' in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) provides a brief overview of this malignant skin cancer for physicians and patients.

Read More: Melanoma News and Melanoma Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.