Waiting Even a Month to Remove Melanoma Can Be Deadly

From Drugs.com - November 7, 2017

Waiting Even a Month to Remove Melanoma Can Be Deadly

TUESDAY, Nov. 7, 2017 -- The sooner the deadly skin cancer melanoma is treated, the more likely a patient is to survive.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 153,000 American adults diagnosed with stage 1 to 3 melanoma between 2004 and 2012.

No matter what stage their cancer was, those who waited more than 90 days for surgical treatment were more likely to die.

And postponing surgery for more than 29 days led to lower survival rates for patients with stage 1 melanoma, though not for those with stage 2 or 3.

Compared to patients who were treated within 30 days, patients with stage 1 melanoma were 5 percent more likely to die when treated between 30 and 59 days. Their risk of death rose 16 percent when treated between 60 and 89 days; 29 percent when treated between 91 and 120 days; and 41 percent when treated after 120 days.

Patients who put off their treatment tended to be older men who also had other health problems.

The Cleveland Clinic study was published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

"The ideal timing for melanoma treatment, predominantly surgery, had yet to be determined -- until now," said primary investigator Dr. Brian Gastman. He is director of melanoma surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.


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