According to a recent study recognized by the American Academy of Dermatology, patients who visit a dermatologist even once prior to their melanoma diagnosis have less severe melanomas than those who do not.
Michelle Cheng, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and her colleagues collected data from 387 adult patients who had been newly diagnosed with melanoma. The team presented their findings at an American Academy of Dermatology meeting.
“Our data support that patients who have had even a single dermatology visit are more likely to be diagnosed with a thinner melanoma and have a better prognosis than patients without a history of a past dermatologic examination,” they said.
If a patient visited a dermatology clinic for a professional skin exam before the actual diagnosis, they were 37% less likely to have invasive melanoma.
That same skin exam was also associated with a 25% reduction in lesion thickness at the diagnosis.
The results of the study are clear: proactively scheduling a visit to the dermatologist’s office will increase chances of a thinner melanoma and a better prognosis.