By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – I am a big believer that medical care may be most important when it serves a preventive role, helping to avoid problems down the road. Early intervention can be quite effective. Now comes a report that stresses the role of access to physicians.

A new study finds fewer people die from the skin cancer melanoma in U.S. counties that have at least one dermatologist.

It was found that in counties without any dermatologists, about 15 out of every one million people died from melanoma. In counties that had up to one dermatologist for every 100,000 residents, the melanoma death rate was only two-thirds of that in counties with no specialists. And, with one or two dermatologists, the rate was about half.

Access to care is critical.

Watch & Listen LIVE