COVID-19 shutdowns caused delays in melanoma diagnoses, study finds | News

Disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic have affected every area of health care. A new study published in the American Academy of Dermatology found that more melanomas in advanced stages and with aggressive features were diagnosed during the pandemic, suggesting COVID-19 shutdowns caused a delay in the diagnosis — and a delay in treating the dangerous skin cancer.

Sancy Leachman, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the OHSU Department of Dermatology and the director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Melanoma Program, co-lead the study in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and colleagues at 12 academic centers with dedicated melanoma clinics across the country. She says the study’s findings, coupled with declining rates of new melanoma diagnoses nationally, suggest that melanoma cases went undiagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic and were identified only after the cancer had progressed to later stages.

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