Melanoma patterns of care in Ontario: A call for a strategic alignment of multidisciplinary care

J Surg Oncol. 2018 Mar;117(4):597-617. doi: 10.1002/jso.24936. Epub 2017 Dec 11.


Background and objectives: Variability in melanoma management has prompted concerns about equitable and timely treatment. We investigated patterns of melanoma diagnosis and treatment using population-level data.

Methods: Patients with invasive cutaneous melanoma were identified retrospectively from the Ontario Cancer Registry (2003-2012) and deterministically linked with administrative databases to identify incidence, disease characteristics, geographic origin, and multimodal treatment within a year of diagnosis. Melanoma treatment was categorized as inadequate or adequate based on multidisciplinary clinical algorithms. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model factors associated with treatment adequacy.

Results: From 2003 to 2012, 22 918 patients with invasive melanoma were identified with annual age/sex standardized incidence rates of 11.7-14.3/100 000 for females and 13.4-15.9/100 000 for males. Melanoma occurred at median age of 62 and primarily on extremities (43.9%). Within 1 year after diagnosis, 86.7% of patients received surgery as primary therapy. A total of 2312 (10.6%) patients received inadequate or no treatment after diagnosis. Receiving adequate treatment was associated with consultation with dermatology (OR 1.92, CI 1.71-2.14), plastic surgery (OR 4.80, CI 4.32-5.34), or general surgery (OR 2.15, CI 1.94-2.38).

Conclusions: Significant variation exists in melanoma management and nearly one in nine patients is inadequately treated. Referral to sub-specialized providers is critical for ensuring appropriate care.

Keywords: dermatology; surgery; variation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Melanoma / diagnosis*
  • Melanoma / epidemiology
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Patient Care Team
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Melanoma, Cutaneous Malignant