They began mapping out some of the most extreme distances between certain towns and their nearest dermatologist. The farthest mapped distance was 144 miles (approx. 2 hour drive) between two cities in Montana. This can be extremely difficult for individuals to not only schedule appointments that don’t conflict with their schedules, but that they also have to worry about getting to on time.  These derm-deserts cause even greater issues with the long wait times that dermatologist offices already face. Any offices surrounding the deserts become the go-to offices for those who reside within it.

According to a U.K. study patients who notice, are diagnosed, and are treated for melanoma within 14 days have a 20% higher rate of survival. Unlike 20% of Medicare patients who reported waiting at least a month and a half before having their melanoma removed. And 8% of Medicare patients reported waiting more than three months.

The WH team began looking into the reason behind the dermatologist shortage. Dermatologists have good reputations as far as career success. Their annual income is more than even anesthesiologists and they were chosen out of 18 specialties as the #1 for “Best Lifestyle” by students in a 2013 survey. But even with these pros, the shortage is still a reality.

For more information visit: Women’s Health Derm-Deserts

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