Recent Study Shows Dermatologist Density Improves Melanoma Prognosis

While cosmetic dermatology has come a long way in helping people look more youthful, the root of dermatology is, of course, skin health. The best dermatologists focus on the health and well being of the patient and their skin, which ultimately leads to the best possible results, no matter your condition. The increase in practicing dermatologists was the subject of a recent study that determined in counties in the US, where they are more dermatologists, there are fewer deaths from melanoma.

The Study, titled Association of Increased Dermatologist Density With Lower Melanoma Mortality, by Savina Aneja, BA;Sanjay Aneja, BS;Jeremy S. Bordeaux, MD, MPH, was conducted to determine if increased numbers of dermatologists would impact melanoma death rates.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Melanoma is “Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma can also involve the colored part of the eye.”

According to the study that was published in the Archives of Dermatology, the more dermatologists that are practicing within a community, the lower the death rate associated with melanoma. While the study did not conclude whether this increased number of dermatologists prevented melanoma because of earlier detection, better or more treatment options, or a combination of diagnosis and treatment, it is clear that the increased availability of dermatologists is improving survival rates in the studied areas.

The study spanned 4 years, from 2002, through 2006 and studied 2,472 US counties. A 35% reduction in the death rate associated with melanoma was reported in counties that had .001 to 1 dermatologist per 100,000 people. A 53% reduction in the melanoma death rate was found in counties where there were 1.001 to 2 dermatologists per 100,000 people. Once the density of dermatologists increased from 1.001 to 2, there was no further lowering of the mortality rates.

This study underscores the importance of having qualified dermatologists in your community, and the importance of visiting them to ensure your skin health. Everyone should check themselves for moles and any other skin irregularities often, especially if you are outdoors a lot, but it’s also worth visiting a qualified dermatologist regularly.

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