(HealthDay News) – Melanoma mortality rates are significantly lower in U.S. counties with 0.001 to 2.0 dermatologists per 100,000 people, compared to those with no dermatologist, according to a study published in the February issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

To investigate the correlation between dermatologist density and melanoma mortality, Savina Aneja, of the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and associates analyzed melanoma mortality and incidence data in 2,472 counties in the United States. Data were reported as age-adjusted mean rates per 100,000 people, from 2002 through 2006.

Compared to counties with no dermatologists, the researchers found that, on multivariate analysis, the presence of 0.001 to 1.0 dermatologists per 100,000 people was associated with a 35% decrease in the melanoma mortality rate. Data showed that the mortality rate dropped 53% in counties with 1.001 to 2.0 dermatologists per 100,000 people; however, having more than two dermatologists did not further lower the rates.

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“Within a given county, a greater dermatologist density is associated with lower melanoma mortality rates compared with counties that lacked a dermatologist,” the authors write.

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