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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 689261, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/689261
Research Article

Ambulatory Melanoma Care Patterns in the United States

1Galderma Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA
2Nova Southeastern University/Broward Health Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315, USA
3Galderma Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA
4Galderma Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA
5Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1071, USA

Received 3 June 2013; Accepted 22 July 2013

Academic Editor: Mark Lebwohl

Copyright © 2013 Andrew L. Ji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. To examine trends in melanoma visits in the ambulatory care setting. Methods. Data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) from 1979 to 2010 were used to analyze melanoma visit characteristics including number of visits, age and gender of patients, and physician specialty. These data were compared to US Census population estimates during the same time period. Results. The overall rate of melanoma visits increased ( ) at an apparently higher rate than the increase in population over this time. The age of patients with melanoma visits increased at approximately double the rate (0.47 year per interval year, ) of the population increase in age (0.23 year per interval year). There was a nonsignificant decline in the proportion of female patients seen over the study interval. Lastly, ambulatory care has shifted towards dermatologists and other specialties managing melanoma patients and away from family/internal medicine physicians and general/plastic surgeons. Conclusions. The number and age of melanoma visits has increased over time with respect to the overall population, mirroring the increase in melanoma incidence over the past three decades. These trends highlight the need for further studies regarding melanoma management efficiency.