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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2011 Nov;65(5 Suppl 1):S124-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2011.05.032.

Melanoma reporting to central cancer registries by US dermatologists: an analysis of the persistent knowledge and practice gap.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.



Every state requires diagnosing physicians to report new cases of melanoma to its central cancer registry. Previous regional studies and anecdotal experience suggest that few dermatologists are cognizant of this obligation. This oversight could result in a large number of unreported melanomas annually and, in turn, US melanoma statistics that markedly underestimate the true incidence of the disease.


We sought to quantify the percentage of dermatologists who are unaware of melanoma reporting requirements (the knowledge gap) and who are not reporting melanoma diagnoses (the practice gap). We also sought to delineate factors predictive of reporting knowledge and behavior.


A survey was administered to attendees of the Cutaneous Oncology Symposium at the 2010 American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting.


In all, 104 of 419 eligible attendees completed surveys (response rate 26%). Fifty percent of respondents do not believe they are required to report melanomas and 56% do not actively report their diagnoses to a registry. Practice duration of less than 10 years was significantly associated with both a knowledge gap (P = .047) and practice gap (P = .056). Similarly, dermatologists who diagnosed fewer than 10 melanomas per year were more likely to possess a knowledge gap (P = .096) and a practice gap (P = .087) than those who diagnosed more than 10.


Limitations include small sample size and low response rate.


A majority of dermatologists are not reporting melanomas they diagnose to a cancer registry, and half of those surveyed were not aware that diagnosing physicians are required to report melanoma.

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