Non-adherence of surgical treatment in patients with non-melanoma skin cancer: a retrospective cohort pilot study

Sung Kyung Cho, Michelle Lee, L. Steven Brown, Rajiv I. Nijhawan, Benjamin F. Chong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is limited data on non-adherence for surgical treatment in non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) patients. The objective of this single-center, retrospective cohort study is to compare rates of non-adherence of surgical treatment options, determine factors associated with non-adherence, and identify barriers for non-adherence. All adult patients with NMSC (> 18 years) seen between 2015 and 2017 recommended surgical treatment (surgical excision and electrodessication and curettage (ED&C) or Mohs surgery) were eligible. Non-adherence was defined as not completing recommended treatment and reasons for non-adherence were collected. Out of 427 patients that met inclusion criteria, patients recommended surgical excision and ED&C had a lower non-adherence rate of 3.4% compared to those recommended Mohs (11.4%) (p = 0.006). Factors associated with non-adherence included self-pay patients (19.07% adherent vs. 43.24% non-adherent, p = 0.004). Multivariate logistic regression analysis confirmed that Mohs patients were more likely to be non-adherent (odds ratio (OR) = 3.839, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.435–10.270), p = 0.007) compared to surgical excision and ED&C patients. Males were more likely to be non-adherent (OR = 2.474, 95% CI (1.105–5.542), p = 0.028) to females, and self-pay patients were more likely to be non-adherent than those with other payers (OR = 3.050, 95% CI (1.437–6.475), p = 0.004). Of the 37 patients who were non-adherent, the most common reasons were loss to follow-up (46%), social reasons (41%), medical reasons (38%), and financial reasons (22%). There was a significant difference in non-adherence rates between surgical treatments for NMSCs in our cohort. Our study suggests the need for future interventional studies that implement strategies and patient education to decrease non-adherence rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Dermatological Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Mohs surgery
  • Non-adherence
  • Non-melanoma skin cancer
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Surgical treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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