23 January 2014

American Academy of Dermatology responds to Jan. 19, 2014 New York Times article

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Jan. 21, 2014) —In response to New York Times article “Patients’ Costs Skyrocket; Specialists’ Incomes Soar” (“Paying Till It Hurts” series, Jan. 19, 2014)

To the Editor:

As physicians dedicated to caring for patients and as leaders of the dermatology profession, we are concerned by your portrayal of dermatologists using one patient’s experience. Our concern is that readers may be deterred from seeking treatment for skin cancers that can be successfully eradicated if diagnosed and treated early.

More than 3.5 million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer in the United States are projected each year, and an estimated 3,070 deaths from these cancers occurred in the United States in 2013.

The American Academy of Dermatology has done extensive, thoughtful work to promote appropriate use of services and cost-effective care. Mohs surgery to remove skin cancers is a cost-effective treatment offering a high rate of success: up to 99 percent for difficult-to-treat basal and squamous cell cancers.

The Academy and our members continue to work with others across the health care community to address the larger concerns raised in the article.

Dirk M. Elston, MD, FAAD
President, American Academy of Dermatology