How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic and Lockdown Affected Breslow Thickness in Cutaneous Melanoma?

Nov. 19, 2021

Department at Complejo Hospitalario de Navarra (CHN) cancelled all first-time visits between
March 16 and April 22, but continued with in-hospital and remote interdisciplinary consults and
conducted essential first and follow-up visits telematically or by telephone. Surgical procedures
for the excision of squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas also continued.
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The aim of this study was to analyze Breslow thickness in patients diagnosed with cutaneous
melanomas between March and October 2020 and compare our findings with data from the
same period in 2018 and 2019 to determine whether the diagnosis of malignant melanocytic
lesions might have been delayed due to changes to primary care, lockdown, and/or fear of
COVID-19 among the general population.
This was a descriptive, retrospective, cross-sectional study of all primary cutaneous melanomas
diagnosed at the CHN in Pamplona and Hospital García Orcoyen in Estella, which serve a
population of 545 488 inhabitants.1 Patients diagnosed with recurrences or metastases were
excluded. Breslow thickness was analyzed as a continuous quantitative variable (in millimeters)
and an ordinal variable with 5 categories: melanoma in situ, ≤░ 1░mm, >░1-2░mm, >░2-
4░mm, and >░4░mm. Means and categorical variables were compared using the t test and
linear trend χ2
test, respectively, with 95% confidence intervals and a statistical significance
level of P░ <░.05 in both cases

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