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Racial Differences Seen in Time to Treatment for Melanoma

Time from diagnosis to definitive surgery is twice as long on average for black versus white patients

hospital patient in bed

FRIDAY, May 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients are more likely to experience a longer delay from diagnosis to surgery versus white patients with melanoma, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Raghav Tripathi, M.P.H., from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues used data from the National Cancer Database (2004 to 2015) to identify 233,982 melanoma patients. Racial differences in time from diagnosis to definitive surgery (TTDS) were assessed.

The researchers found that 0.52 percent of identified melanoma patients were black. Compared with white patients, black patients had increased average TTDS (23.4 days versus 11.7 days). For stage I to III melanoma, black patients had longer TTDS and time to immunotherapy. However, for TTDS for stage IV melanoma and time to chemotherapy, there were no significant differences. Black patients had more than twice the odds of having TTDS between 41 and 60 days, more than three times the odds of having TTDS between 61 and 90 days, and more than five times the odds of having TTDS >90 days, when controlling for sociodemographic characteristics. Furthermore, within each insurance type, racial differences in TTDS persisted. The longest TTDS was seen for patients with Medicaid (mean 60.4 days), while those with private insurance had the shortest TTDS (mean 44.6 days).

"Targeted approaches to improve TTDS for black patients are integral in reducing racial disparities in melanoma outcomes," the authors write.

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