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Low Adherence to Follow-Up Seen for Primary Invasive Melanoma

Greater adherence to annual dermatology visits leads to reduced melanoma-specific mortality

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | April 11, 2024

WEDNESDAY, April 10, 2024 -- For patients with primary invasive cutaneous melanoma, adherence to annual dermatology visits is low, but greater adherence is associated with reduced melanoma-specific mortality, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Yuanshen Huang, M.D., Ph.D., from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and colleagues examined the level of adherence to annual dermatologic follow-up in patients with melanoma in a retrospective inception cohort analysis involving adults with primary invasive cutaneous melanoma from 2010 to 2013. Patients were followed until Dec. 31, 2018 (median follow-up, 5.0 years).

The researchers observed variable adherence to dermatologic follow-up, with 28.0 percent of patients seeing a dermatologist at least annually. Predictors for adherence included younger age, female sex, higher income, greater access to dermatology care, stage 2/3 melanoma, prior keratinocyte carcinoma, fewer comorbidities, and any outpatient visit in the 12 months before melanoma diagnosis. Compared with lower levels of adherence, greater adherence to annual dermatology visits was associated with reduced melanoma-specific mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.64).

"Patients, health care providers, and policy-makers should explore opportunities to improve adherence within the constraints of health care systems," the authors write. "Further research is needed to confirm a causal association, determine the optimal frequency of follow-up, and address barriers to adherence."

Two authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


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