Individuals with early-stage melanoma require information, resources and emotional/mental health-focused care, all which dermatologists may be best prepared to provide, according to a research letter published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
Survey results from 572 patients with stage I melanoma in the Skin Health Study, a population-based case-control study for those diagnosed with melanoma between 2004 and 2007, were analyzed, according to Christina Boull, MD, from the department of dermatology, Medical School, University of Minnesota, and colleagues.
Researchers assessed six outcomes from the survey results: patient satisfaction with provider knowledge, level of compassion, attention to outside factors including a support network for dealing with cancer, receipt of conflicting information, failure to get important questions answered and overall stress waiting for test results.
When the cancer registry-recorded physician was in family medicine, participants were more likely to report fair/poor satisfaction as compared with dermatology. Around 6% of participants reported fair/poor levels of compassion by their providers, and a higher percentage was found among those whose physician was not a dermatologist.
Overall, 27% of participants were dissatisfied with their provider’s attention to outside factors and support, with women more likely than men to report dissatisfaction in this area.
Younger patients were more likely than older patients to report receiving conflicting information at diagnosis.
Patients were less likely to get important questions answered when their physician was a non-dermatologist. Additionally, stress associated with waiting for results was reported among most patients, but stress was higher among women, patients treated by a dermatologist and those at a younger age.
“We speculate that having cared for a larger number of melanoma patients, dermatologists are more accurately able to anticipate and address patient concerns,” Boull and colleagues wrote. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.