Research in Dermatology

Dear Colleague:

As you are well aware, melanoma incidence is increasing at a more rapid pace than any other cancer. Ongoing and detailed monitoring of this epidemic will be critical to scientific progress in understanding melanoma causes and prevention. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Dermatologic Society, determined that up to 35% of all melanoma diagnoses in Los Angeles County were not being reported to the cancer registry and thus not included in incidence statistics. Incompleteness of case reporting was determined to be due in part to recent changes in pathologic review practices that do not have existing mechanisms for cancer registry reporting.

I am working together with Drs. Tina Clarke and Theresa Keegan at the Northern Californa Cancer Center (NCCC), the SEER cancer registry for the nine-county Greater Bay Area, to replicate the Los Angeles study and to learn more about how to improve melanoma surveillance in our own region. We are asking each of you, or your practice managers, to fill out a brief survey describing your melanoma case load, your pathology review practices, and some other information to help us identify the extent of non-reported cases. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes. All responses will be kept strictly confidential, and contact information will be used to enhance reporting at individual sites. Again, our goal is simply to improve melanoma reporting in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Ninety-three percent of Los Angeles dermatologists responded to the first study, a number we are hoping to surpass in Northern California! Please help us by completing the survey, available online at:

The survey can be completed online, downloaded as a PDF file to print for mailing or faxing, or by calling NCCC at 1-866-289-6541 to schedule a brief telephone interview.

We thank you in advance for your commitment to improving melanoma reporting in our area.


Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Pigmented Lesion & Cutaneous Melanoma Clinic
Stanford University Medical Center/VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Co-Director, Stanford Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic

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