Factors of delay in the diagnosis of melanoma

Roberto Betti, Raffaella Vergani, Elena Tolomio, Roberto Santambrogio, Carlo Crosti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Delay in the diagnosis of melanoma was defined as the interval in months from the patient's report of first noticing a suspected lesion to the date of the removal of a histologically confirmed melanoma. 216 patients were included in our study. Total delay was subdivided in three components: patient, medical and referral delay. The major component of delay is due to the patient and the most important cause of it was lack of concern. Lesions in men were detected more frequently by family members, while in women melanomas tended to be self-detected. Nodular melanoma had lower delay but higher thickness. Amelanotic melanomas had a higher delay principally due to the physicians. A significative positive correlation between Breslow thickness and patient delay was observed. The visibility of the tumor and the educational or socio-economic status did not seem to improve early diagnosis. The observation about the shorter delays in thicker tumors lead us to think that educational campaigns should be more focused on recognition of changing or growing lesions than other signs of the ABCD rule and that nodular melanomas are quite different from superficial spreading melanomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • Early diagnosis
  • Melanoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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