Objective. To determine to what extent the follow-up after resection of melanoma in practice corresponds to the relevant guidelines in the first revised version of the consensus 'Melanoma of the skin'. Design. Descriptive, retrospective. Method. For 67 patients, who had a melanoma resected in September 1993-April 1995 in the Academic Hospital, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, data were collected in May-August 1997 on the first two years of follow-up from the medical records (n = 42) and through communication in writing with the referring physicians and the physicians involved in the follow-up in other hospitals in the Netherlands (n = 25). The frequency of physical examination and routine diagnostics by the doctor was evaluated. To gain insight into the reasons why in some cases the guidelines were not followed, we set up an inquiry among the 20 doctors involved in the follow-up in August 1998. Results. The mean frequency of outpatient visits and physical examinations was 3-4 times per year, practically consistent with the guideline. Routine blood testing was performed in 17 patients (25%) and diagnostic imaging (X-ray or CT scan of the chest, ultrasonography of the liver) in 51 patients (76%) in deviation from the guideline. Non-compliance with the guideline could not be explained by unfamiliarity with the consensus, disagreement with the contents or existence of local protocols. Extra diagnostics were mostly meant to reassure patients. No metastases or recurrences were encountered during routine follow-up examinations, but some were found (in 8 patients) at interim visits to the outpatient clinic. Conclusion. The national guidelines regarding diagnostic tests in the follow- up of melanoma patients are insufficiently followed. Because redundant routine diagnostics probably have more disadvantages than benefits, a more active implementation of (future) guidelines appears necessary.
|Translated title of the contribution||Follow-up after resection of melanoma more extensive than recommended in the consensus, to reassure the patient|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 8 May 1999|