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Dermatology Online Journal

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Melanoma patient notification and treatment timelines


Melanoma is an extremely aggressive cancer for which the American Academy of Dermatology currently does not have formal recommendations outlining a timeline from biopsy to definitive treatment. Our dermatology department investigated our treatment timeline for melanoma. Using the database from our electronic medical record, Epic, we evaluated patients over a one-year period; in total we identified 109 melanomas. We evaluated patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and timelines regarding diagnosis and treatments. There was a statistically significant difference in patient notification of diagnosis and treatment times between stage 1 and stages 2-4 combined (based on the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system). We found that 84% of melanomas were treated within 4 weeks of diagnosis and 96% within 6 weeks. The lower the stage, the earlier the melanoma was definitively treated; higher stage melanomas had a longer delay to definitive treatment. Herein, we have presented our single institutional experience of the melanoma timeline from diagnosis to definitive treatment and have identified factors that impact timely definitive treatment.

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