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FL dermatologist shortage can delay diagnosing skin cancer

Orlando Sentinel, July 7, 2011

Even as skin cancer rates in the Sunshine State are on the rise, scheduling an appointment to diagnose and treat the disease may be difficult. An aging population, lots of sun exposure and the rise of cosmetic procedures are cited as reasons for the growing patient volume. That's compounded by a stagnant number of dermatologists graduating from medical school. The result is a backlog of patients who can wait from weeks to months for appointments and have to drive as long as 90 minutes to the doctor's office. Longer wait times can delay identifying pre-cancerous lesions and skin cancer, the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States. Florida is second only to California for incidences of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I think there is a shortage," said Douglas Robins, MD, of the Florida Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery. "I know some places have monthlong backlogs."