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Melanoma Thickness Unrelated to Time of Diagnosis

Authors cite disease complexity, diversity as reasons for lack of correlation

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The thickness of melanoma is not correlated with the time to first diagnosis by a physician or to the time from diagnosis to invasive disease, according to a report in the November issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Peter Baade, Ph.D., of the Queensland Cancer Fund in Australia, and colleagues conducted a telephone survey of 3,772 residents of Queensland recently diagnosed with melanoma to test a relationship between melanoma thickness and time to diagnosis.

With the exception of a positive association seen between melanoma thickness and post-presentation delay in detection of nodular melanomas by a physician, no relationships between thickness and time to diagnosis or to invasive disease was noted. The authors attribute the lack of association to the biological diversity of melanoma and/or to methodological limitations of retrospective studies.

"We need to recognize the complex relationships between tumor thickness and intervals to diagnosis, as well as the substantial limitations in these retrospective studies of delay," the authors write. "To quantitatively demonstrate the importance of seeking medical clarification early for suspicious skin lesions, innovative ways of dealing with these issues should be investigated."

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