The following is a summary of “Delays in the surgical treatment of melanoma are associated with worsened overall and melanoma-specific mortality: A population-based analysis,” published in October, 2022 issue of Dermatology by Xiong, et al.

Uncertainty exists on how treatment delays affect melanoma outcomes. For a study, researchers sought to determine how surgical treatment delays affected overall mortality (OM) and melanoma-specific mortality (MSM).

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (N = 108,689) was used to locate patients with stage I to stage III cutaneous melanoma. Time passed between the diagnosis, the final operation, and the follow-up in the included patients. The effect of treatment delays on mortality was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards and Fine-Gray competing risks analyses.

Across all phases, treatment delays of 3 to 5 months were linked to poorer MSM, whereas delays of more than a month were linked to worse OM. Delays of 3 to 5 months were linked to poorer MSM in a subgroup analysis of patients with stage I illness, and any delay of more than 1 month was linked to worse OM. With delays of 6+ months for MSM and 3–5 months for OM, stage II patients had poorer MSM and worse OM, respectively. When the illness was at stage III, there was no discernible impact of treatment delays.

Improved OM and MSM might be a result of early melanoma therapy.