Seeking early diagnosis for skin cancer is as vital as ever, with safe facilities available.
The chart shows changes in skin cancer diagnosis levels when the pandemic hit, with case numbers rapidly dropping away.
Data in the chart is taken from extensive research published in mid 2021, which suggested a universal picture. Annual diagnosis levels fell by 53% in the UK, 60% in Holland and 56% in Australia, where the research was extensive.
Australia is a prime skin cancer area and the researchers were able to access records from 370 general practices (240,000 adult patients). The focus was on fresh diagnosis, rather than patients with recent, pre-existing skin cancer diagnosis.
There are subtleties to be drawn from this and other research. A UK study in 2020 found even higher reductions in northern England, there are other regional and generational differences but the core issue is clear.
A disease which benefits from early diagnosis more than most is going undetected for longer, when this can be avoided.
Safe Medical Support
Telephone consultations increased following the pandemic, which are better than no contact and fine in certain circumstances but have limitations. A video link to a doctor can help more by offering visual contact.
There have been concerns, on image quality compared to real life, or opportunistic diagnosis of skin cancer being less likely. Further research is needed but in studies to date, the reaction of patients and clinicians has been positive.
Teledermatology is not intended to be a complete solution for every case. Technology has nevertheless provided us with a contact free method which can allay concerns, or spot the need for a more detailed examination at our clinic.
Whether attending after video consultation, or choosing a direct appointment, patients are entering a safe environment. Strict levels of hygiene, disinfection, testing, staff innoculation and procedural changes make Covid infection during a visit highly unlikely.
There are cost implications in delay, with treating later stage skin cancers far more expensive than early stage. More importantly, early diagnosis reduces the treatment a patient needs to undergo and vastly improves outcome.
Modern approaches such as immunotherapy have improved survival for later stage skin cancers but the risk is still far higher. Neither is there a need for patients to face this risk, or the accompanying psychological distress.
We understand why people may be wary of medical visits during the pandemic but concerns can be set aside. Early diagnosis of skin cancer remains as vital as ever, you can chooose an initial remote consultation, or attend a well prepared facility.
This offers peace of mind if you have spotted unwanted signs on your skin, with diagnosis available and prompt treatment if required. You are welcome to contact our team, to arrange an appointment, or to discuss any individual needs.