~ 111310 Study Finds Increased Tumor Growth Associated With Delay In Seeking Skin Cancer Treatment


SCHAUMBURG, Ill., Nov. 12, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- If detected early, nonmelanoma skin cancers (primarily basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common forms of skin cancer) can be easily treated. But when left untreated, these skin cancers can grow and even spread, causing considerably more harm than if they were treated upon initial detection. Now, a new study finds that denial is the top reason why patients delay seeking treatment for skin cancer and shows that this delay results in larger, more serious, skin cancers.

In the article entitled, "Delayed treatment and continued growth of nonmelanoma skin cancer," published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, dermatologist Murad Alam, MD, MSCI, FAAD, chief of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, and associate professor of dermatology, otolaryngology, and surgery at Northwestern University, Chicago, presented results of a study examining why patients delay seeking medical attention for suspicious growths and the consequences of their procrastination.

"Studies show that various patient-specific factors appear to be responsible for the delay in the treatment of cancers in general, and skin cancer in particular," said Dr. Alam. "The purpose of this study was to determine the patient- and physician-specific reasons, including physical, financial, social, intellectual, and psychological factors, to which patients attribute delays in the diagnosis and treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers."

Patients reported that denial was the most frequent reason for waiting to see a doctor about a suspicious lesion - accounting for 71 percent of all cases. Specifically, the two most commonly listed reasons why patients waited to see their doctor were "thought it would go away" (36 percent), and "thought it wasn't important" (24 percent).

"Denial may be a normal response to health concerns, with patients minimizing the psychological burden of their illness, or it may be a learned coping mechanism," said Dr. Alam. "But denial can interfere with obtaining treatment and result in more serious or advanced skin cancers."

When analyzing the association of delay with the size of a skin cancer from the time patients first realized that they had a problematic lesion to the time they saw a physician, Dr. Alam found that there was a significant increase in tumor size in patients who waited an average of six months to see a physician. On average, skin cancers grew during this delay period, with the average lesion enlarging from the size of a pimple (2-3 mm) to between the size of a pimple and a dime (10 mm). The longest reported delays were associated with relatively greater increases in tumor sizes.

"Delayed treatment of skin cancer may result in tumor enlargement, loss of function in affected areas, and the need for larger excisions that may impact a person's appearance and mobility," noted Dr. Alam. "That is why dermatologists encourage everyone to perform regular skin exams and report suspicious lesions to a dermatologist as soon as possible."

Dr. Alam stressed that it is important for patients to understand that early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer can lead to simpler surgeries, smaller scars, and decreased illnesses. If a patient has a suspicious lesion, he or she should make an appointment to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

Study Methodology

To collect data for this study, a four-page questionnaire eliciting patient medical history, skin cancer history, demographic information, initial and subsequent lesion size, and reasons for delay in seeking treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancers was administered to 982 patients undergoing Mohs micrographic surgery for nonmelanoma skin cancer at a private surgery practice between March and December 2005.

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 16,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or http://www.aad.org/.

American Academy of Dermatology

CONTACT: Jennifer Allyn, +1-847-240-1730, jallyn@aad.org; KaraMcFarland, +1-847-240-1701, kmcfarland@aad.org; or Allison Sit,+1-847-240-1746, asit@aad.org, all of the American Academy of Dermatology

Web Site: http://www.aad.org/

Copyright PRNewswire-USNewswire 2010

Free Shipping in the Continental U.S. on Orders over $50
The statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. The foregoing statements are based upon sound and reliable studies, and are meant for informational purposes. Consult with your medical practitioner to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Please always check your purchase for possible allergins and correct dosage on the bottle before use.

While we work to ensure that product information is correct, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our Web site. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings, and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. Life Ex Online assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.