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World J Surg Oncol. 2012 Apr 6;10:54. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-10-54.

Adjunct primer for the use of national comprehensive cancer network guidelines for the surgical management of cutaneous malignant melanoma patients.

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Department of Surgery, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA.


Recently, a Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) survey of melanoma patterns of care by the Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale showed remarkable deviations from best practice patterns throughout the country. The study, which analyzed the SEER records of 35,126 stage I to III cutaneous malignant melanoma patients treated from 2004 to 2006, showed that adherence to National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) therapeutic resection margins occurred in less than 36% of patients. Similarly, considerable variation in the quality of melanoma care in the United States when assessed using 26 quality indicators drawn by a panel of melanoma experts was independently reported. These observations underscore the significant lack of adherence to published best practice patterns reflected by the NCCN guidelines. The untoward effects of these variations in practice pattern can have an inordinate impact on the survival of melanoma patients in whom long term outcomes are affected by the adequacy of surgical management. Thin malignant melanoma is curable; however, thick or node positive melanoma is often incurable. This outcome is determined not only by the stage at presentation but by the use of best practice patterns as reflected in current NCCN cutaneous melanoma practice guidelines.

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