How To Improve Stage I Melanoma Survival Rates

How To Improve Stage I Melanoma Survival Rates

It’s Melanoma Month and we hope you’re doing your best to educate yourself on the risks and signs of melanoma! We’re going to discuss some new research today that asks the question - what should happen immediately after melanoma diagnosis in order to improve survival rate?

When a melanoma is diagnosed in our Nashville practice, the patient is called and informed that their results are in, and that we are able to see them on the same day to discuss it. As you can imagine if you received a similar call - you would try to come in right away. If our Nashville patients aren’t able to do so, we insist they must come in within the week.

I know what you’re thinking - why not break the news right away over the phone? While this was something we used to do, we did find that many patients would get quite upset and it was impossible to calm them over the phone and put them at risk while driving to our office. So, we ensure they come in and receive their melanoma diagnosis in person. We do not let the patient leave our office until it is clear to all that they are calm, accept the diagnosis and understand the treatment plan.

If they have Stage I melanoma, we schedule the surgery according to their timeline and try to make sure they have the surgery within a few weeks. Since we have multiple providers, we are able to take care of their melanoma in a timely manner. And this is where the research I mentioned earlier ties in - using data from the National Cancer Data Base, the authors of this study evaluated the effect of time to surgical treatment on melanoma outcomes.

Compared with patients with a shorter time to treatment, patients with a longer time to treatment were more likely to be older, be male, be insured by Medicare, have head and neck melanoma, a higher Breslow (depth of tumor cells) thickness, and be at a higher stage. The overall survival decreased in patients who had to wait longer than 90 days for surgery, regardless of their melanoma stage. In addition, delaying surgery beyond 29 days for stage I melanoma negatively impacted overall survival.

As you can see, this is precisely why we are so insistent on acting quickly after a melanoma diagnosis is made for our Nashville patients. The research showed that surgery for stage I melanoma should be performed within 30 days of diagnosis, whereas the timing of surgery for stage II and III melanoma may not significantly affect overall survival, unless it is delayed longer than 90 days.

It’s our hope that if you have any questions, concerns or thoughts to share with us about melanoma, our door is wide open to you! Feel free to book an appointment to help us address anything you may be unsure about when it comes to melanoma.

P.S. We’re giving you 20% off all our sunscreens this month to help you protect your skin during Melanoma Month! Shop our sunscreens here or in-person at a Skin Solutions Dermatology practice near you.

Source: Dermatology

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Dr Pena

About The Author

Dr. Pena is a Board-Certified Medical Dermatologist, Mohs skin cancer surgeon, and cosmetic dermatologist. Her mission is to educate the diverse patient populations she serves, and their communities, on the importance of skin care in decreasing the risk of skin cancer and minimizing the early signs of aging. She founded Skin Solutions Dermatology with numerous clinics in Nashville, Tennessee and surrounding Middle Tennessee.

Dr. Julia Pena, MD