Proportion of melanoma excisions performed by different specialties in Australia
Background: There are limited data on recent changes in the burden of melanoma in Australia and the proportion of excisions performed by different specialties.
Objective: To compare the number of definitive melanoma excisions during the financial years 2003-4 and 2013-4, and to determine the proportion of excisions performed by different specialties.
Methods: Medicare Australia data provided by the Department of Human Services.
Results: In 2003-4, 23,047 definitive excisions of melanoma were performed. In 2013-4, 38,304 excisions were performed, an increase of 66% over the 10-year interval. Almost all excisions were performed by GPs, dermatologists and surgeons (98% in 2003-4 and 99% in 2013-4). The proportion of excisions performed by GPs increased (43% to 49%) and the proportion for surgeons decreased (40% to 34%), while the proportion for dermatologists remained stable (15% to 16%). The trends in the state data were largely consistent with national data. However, Queensland GPs performed a higher proportion of excisions than other states.
In 2014, there were 26,885 GPs, 445 dermatologists and 1,705 general and plastic surgeons in Australia. Therefore, on average in 2013-4, each GP performed 0.7 excisions, each dermatologist 13.8 excisions and each surgeon 7.5 excisions.
The MBS benefit paid for definitive melanoma excisions was $4.4 million in 2003-4 and $9.0 million in 2013-4.
Conclusion: The number of melanoma excised in Australia increased substantially from 2003-4 to 2013-4. The proportion of melanoma excised by GPs was large and increasing. However, dermatologists on average performed far more excisions per clinician.
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Dr. Albert Wu
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