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Melanoma Diagnosis Often Delayed for Rural Poor

Posted: August 23, 2007

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Patients who had to travel more than 15 miles to see their doctor had about 20 percent greater Breslow thickness than those who were less than 15 miles away.

Compared to those in metropolitan counties, patients in rural counties traveled an average of 2.4 miles farther to their diagnosing doctor. Patients in counties with at least one dermatologist traveled an average of 8.3 miles less than those in counties without a dermatologist.

The study also found an association between Breslow thickness and age and poverty.

"For each one percent increase in poverty rate, Breslow thickness increased by one percent. Breslow thickness was 19 percent greater for patients aged 51 to 80 years than for those aged 0 to 50 years and was 109 percent greater for patients older than 80 years than for those aged 0 to 50 years," the study authors wrote.

The study is published in the August issue of the journal Archives of Dermatology.

HealthDay News, August 22, 2007