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Trends in Melanoma Surveillance and Their Clinical Implications

By: Julia Fiederlein Cipriano, MS
Posted: Tuesday, April 16, 2024

In an era marked by a rise in melanoma cases, Natalie H. Matthews, MD, MPhil, of Henry Ford Health, Detroit, and colleagues created a model to estimate the melanoma surveillance load in the United States over the next 2 decades. Their findings, which were presented as a poster during the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) Annual Meeting (Poster 52910), projected a “substantial” increase in such visits.

“[We expect an exacerbated] strain on the dermatology workforce amid a growing and aging U.S. population,” the investigators commented. “The demand [for examinations] is predicted to increase by as much as 19%.”

Using the U.S. melanoma incidence and survival data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries (1975–2015) and U.S. population projections until 2040, the investigators created a simulation model based on melanoma prevalence projections and recommended surveillance schedules by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the AAD. This algebraic estimation considered various follow-up recommendations and loss because of attrition; it did not incorporate probability models.

The number of visits per dermatologist was projected to increase from 92.3% in 2020 to 109.5% by 2040 with a conservative annual surveillance schedule vs 120.6% to 139.6% with a more aggressive surveillance schedule (defined by exams every 6 months for the first 5 years and annually thereafter). The estimated numbers of additional dermatologists needed in 2040 to maintain 2020 parity were 3,022 and 2,519 for the annual and aggressive surveillance cases, respectively.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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