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How surgeon age affects post-treatment surveillance strategies for melanoma patients

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The intensity of post-treatment melanoma patient follow-up varies widely among physicians. We investigated whether physician age accounts for the observed variation in surveillance intensity among plastic surgeons. A custom-designed questionnaire was mailed to USA and non-USA surgeons, all of whom were members of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. Subjects were asked how they use 14 specific follow-up modalities during years 1-5 and 10 following primary treatment for patients with cutaneous melanoma. Repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare practice patterns by TNM stage, year post-surgery, and age. Of the 3,032 questionnaires mailed, 1,142 (38%) were returned. Of those returned, 395 (35%) were evaluable. Non-evaluability was usually due to lack of melanoma patient follow-up in surgeons' practices. Follow-up strategies for most of the 14 modalities were highly correlated across TNM stages and years post-surgery, as expected. The pattern of testing varied significantly by surgeon age for 3 modalities (complete blood count, liver function tests, and chest X-ray), but the variation was quite small. We concluded that the post-treatment surveillance practice patterns of ASPRS members caring for patients with cutaneous melanoma vary only marginally with physician age. Continuing medical education could account for this observation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, and Surgical Service, John Cochran Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Louis, MO, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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