, Volume 15, Issue 9, pp 2360-2362
Date: 09 Jul 2008

How Well Are We Taking Care of Melanoma Patients in the USA?

This is an excerpt from the content

Increasingly, “compliance” with adopted standards of practice is becoming synonymous with the delivery of “quality” medical care to our patients. For our melanoma patients, the guidelines promulgated by the National Cancer Centers Networks (NCCN)1 are one such set of standards, and have been widely disseminated. But to what extent are we complying with the NCCN melanoma guidelines, and to what extent does compliance with them indicate that high-quality medical care is being delivered? Current and recent publications in Annals of Surgical Oncology shed light on these issues, but raise as many questions as they answer.

Earlier this year, Erickson et al.2 reviewed the charts of 252 clinically node-negative melanoma patients treated at a community teaching hospital and found a significant rate of noncompliance with NCCN guidelines. Excision margins conformed to the guideline standards in 87% of in situ and thin (T1) tumors but only 60% of thicker tumors (T2–4). Compliance with the recommend ...