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 to 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 over twice the odds of having TTDS between 41 to 60 days, over three times the odds of having TTDS between 61 to 90 days, and over 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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