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16 November 2010

Increased Tumor Growth Associated With Increased Delay In Seeking Skin Cancer Treatment

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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).

(Medical News Today)

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