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Early detection and treatment of melanoma critical for survival

Posted Monday, October 30, 2017 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

The results of a recent Cleveland Clinic study make clearer than ever that the sooner melanoma is detected and treated, the better.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Rates of the disease are on the rise in the US, as an estimated 161,790 new cases will be diagnosed this year.

Previously, it was understood in the medical community that early detection is important to surviving melanoma. However, this recent study actually quantifies how much early detection can affect survival rates, particularly with respect to melanoma caught at Stage I.

The study looked at adult patients diagnosed with stage I-III melanoma from 2004-2012. It found, among other things, that the delay in surgery beyond 29 days negatively impacted overall survival for patients with stage I melanoma. Compared with those patients who were surgically treated within 30 days, those patients treated between 30-59 days were 5% more likely to die. Patients treated between 60-89 days were 16% more likely to die, patients treated between 91 and 120 days were 29% more likely to die, and when treated after 120 days, they were 41% more likely to die.

These findings are stark reminders that prompt diagnosis and surgical treatment can make the difference between surviving the disease and not. This includes so many front line providers, including family practice physicians, PAs and ARNPs fulfilling similar roles, as well as dermatologists, surgeons, oncologists, and others.

You can read a synopsis of the new study from the Cleveland Clinic itself here:

Cleveland Clinic Study: Timing of Melanoma Diagnosis, Treatment Critical to Survival

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