In the largest population-based analysis of the role of length of time to diagnosis, Baade et al1 in this issue of the ARCHIVES evaluate the role of time from first noticing a lesion to final diagnosis. Their results echo those of other authors2- 9 (Table) and unpublished data (M.B., 1987-1989) to indicate that there seems to be no correlation between the length of time between first noticing a lesion to its ultimate diagnosis and the Breslow thickness of the lesion, the major clinical prognostic factor to date. The study by Baade et al is based on a combination of telephone interviews with 3772 Queensland, Australia, residents, with a solid response rate of 77.9% and pathological data from the population-based Queensland Cancer Registry supplying Breslow thickness and histologic findings for the lesions. By conducting reinterviews of 176 responders, these investigators confirmed a high level of reliability among their participants. They found intraclass correlation coefficients ranging from 0.85 to 0.90, impressive relationships, but nevertheless demonstrating a small level of error, which the authors adjusted for by regression calibration.
Berwick M. Evaluating Early Detection in the Diagnosis of Melanoma. Arch Dermatol. 2006;142(11):1485-1486. doi:10.1001/archderm.142.11.1485