ORIGINAL ARTICLESClinical pathways to diagnose melanoma: a population-based studyBaade, Peter D.; Youl, Philippa H.; English, Dallas R.; Mark Elwood, J.; Aitken, Joanne F.Author Information The Cancer Council Queensland, Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia Correspondence to Dr Peter D. Baade, PhD, The Cancer Council Queensland, 553 Gregory Terrace, Fortitude Valley, PO Box 201, Spring Hill, QLD 4004, Australia Tel: +61 7 3258 2317; fax: +61 7 3258 2309; e-mail: [email protected] Received 14 August 2006 Accepted 22 March 2007 Melanoma Research: August 2007 - Volume 17 - Issue 4 - p 243-249 doi: 10.1097/CMR.0b013e328194f265 Buy Metrics Abstract To better understand the clinical diagnostic process for invasive melanoma in Queensland. Descriptive population-based study of Queensland residents (n=3772) aged 20–75 years diagnosed with invasive melanoma between January 2000 and December 2003. Information was obtained via telephone interview combined with pathology data from the Queensland Cancer Registry. About 85% of melanoma patients diagnosed in Queensland saw a general practitioner at least once during the process, most of these for the initial consultation. Almost one-fifth of patients (18.1%) saw a skin clinic doctor sometime through the diagnosis pathway; this proportion increased significantly over the study period (P<0.001). The most common pathway for diagnosing melanoma was an initial consultation by a general practitioner followed by referral to a surgeon for a definitive diagnosis. People living in southeast Queensland were more likely to see a dermatologist compared with those living in more rural or remote areas (14.7 versus 6.8%), more likely to see a skin clinic doctor (21.8 versus 7.2%), or a surgeon (54.9 versus 49.3%) at least once during the diagnostic process, and less likely to see a general practitioner (76.8 versus 90.2%). This descriptive study has demonstrated the complexity and diversity of clinical diagnostic pathways for melanoma in Queensland, highlighting the important role of general practitioners and the emerging role of primary care skin clinics. Although this system has resulted in a very favourable thickness distribution for diagnosed melanomas, access issues for people living in rural and remote areas of Queensland need to be addressed. © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.