Surgery is delayed in 1 in 5 Medicare patients with melanoma, according to a Yale study. Melanoma is the leading cause of new cancer diagnoses in the United States.
In this population-based analysis of delay of surgery among Medicare patients with melanoma, culled from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Result-Medicare database, the researchers reviewed more than 32,000 cases of melanoma diagnosis in Medicare patients.
No gold standard exists on time from diagnosis to study; however, the recommended timeframe from between diagnosis and surgery is less than 6 weeks.
This study found that 22% of patients waited longer than 1.5 months for surgery, and surgery was delayed more than 3 months in 8% of patients. Delays were most common when the treating clinician was not a dermatologist (eg, a primary care physician or general surgeon).
In addition, study findings revealed a significant difference in timing from melanoma diagnosis to surgery for Medicare patients.
The researchers suggest further studies should seek to identify reasons for the delay to surgery and to consider how coordination between care providers can be improved.
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.