Delayed Melanoma Care During Pandemic Proved Costly

Delayed diagnoses due to pandemic lockdowns tied to years of life lost
Delayed Melanoma Care During Pandemic Proved Costly
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

TUESDAY, Feb. 27, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Delays in melanoma diagnoses due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns were associated with a significant burden, including years of life lost and costs, according to a study published online Feb. 16 in JAMA Network Open.

Lara V. Maul, M.D., from University Hospital of Basel in Switzerland, and colleagues examined the consequences associated with delays in melanoma screenings during pandemic-related lockdowns. The analysis included data from 50,072 adults with invasive primary cutaneous melanomas stages I to IV from Switzerland (January 2017 to December 2021) and Hungary (January 2019 to December 2021).

The researchers found an estimated 111,464 years of life lost (YLL) due to pandemic-associated delay in melanoma diagnosis in Europe, with estimated total additional costs of $7.65 billion. The main cost driver was indirect treatment costs, accounting for 94.5 percent of total costs. There were 15,360 years lost due to disability (YLD) for the 17 percent upstaging model. The overall disease burden (YLL plus YLD) was 126,824 disability-adjusted life-years for the real-world 17 percent scenario.

"This economic analysis emphasizes the importance of continuing secondary skin cancer prevention measures during pandemics," the authors write. "Beyond the personal outcomes of a delayed melanoma diagnosis, the additional economic and public health consequences are underscored, emphasizing the need to include indirect economic costs in future decision-making processes."

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text

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