Background: Trends regarding treatment providers for residual skin cancer treatments has been relatively poorly addressed in current literature. Identification of such information will allow for targeted federal resource allocation.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the treatment of residual NMSC was carried out primarily by specialists or by general practitioners.
Methodology:Medicare item numbers used for the billing of treatment of NMSC between 2004 and 2007 were identified. The item numbers for treatment of residual disease were isolated and stratified based on type of service provider (specialists vs. general practitioners). The number of residual NMSC treatments was subsequently compared to the type service providers for the initial NMSC treatment.
Results:There were a total of 31,980 residual NMSC services billed in almost equal proportions by specialists (52%) and general practitioners (48%), with specialists treating only 1,284 more lesions. In total, 69% of residual NMSC treatments were administered by the practitioner who excised the initial lesion. Additionally, 9,879 of residual excisions were performed by a practitioner other than the original practitioner. A closer look at the residual excisions provided by another practitioner revealed that initial provider was usually a general practitioner (GP) in 64.8% of cases
Discussion: The results of the above study suggest that the treatment of NMSC was carried out equally by general practitioners and specialists. Interestingly, in a proportion of cases the residual treatment was carried out by a practitioner other than the initial provider, suggesting a referral to specialist services in the treatment of residual NMSC.