Minorities lag in melanoma awareness

January 5, 2010

Miami - Whites and Hispanics are being diagnosed with melanoma more frequently in recent years, while Hispanics and blacks continue to have advanced skin cancer at diagnosis, ScienceDaily reports.

Miami

- Whites and Hispanics are being diagnosed with melanoma more frequently in recent years, while Hispanics and blacks continue to have advanced skin cancer at diagnosis, ScienceDaily reports.

Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine analyzed data from the Florida Cancer Data System, a statewide, population-based cancer-incidence registry. Of 41,072 cases of melanoma diagnosed from 1990 to 2004, 39,670 were diagnosed in white non-Hispanics, 1,148 in white Hispanics and 254 in blacks.

The study’s results, appearing in the December issue of Archives of Dermatology, note that nationwide, the incidence of melanoma increased 2.4 percent per year in the last decade.

ScienceDaily quotes the authors as writing, “Research and public education efforts have focused on melanoma prevention in white populations because of their higher risk of developing melanoma. Improved secondary prevention measures with earlier detection of (early-stage) melanoma likely account for the improved survival among whites from 68 percent in the early 1970s to 92 percent in recent years.

“Such advances, however, have not occurred in other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.”

The study shows that both white Hispanics and blacks had more advanced melanoma at diagnosis. Eighteen percent of white Hispanic patients and 26 percent of black patients had disease that had spread either regionally or to distant parts of their bodies, compared with 12 percent of white non-Hispanic patients.

Furthermore, the study shows that the proportion of distant-stage disease diagnosed among white Hispanic and black patients did not change significantly from 1990 to 2004, compared with a steady decrease in such cases among white non-Hispanics.