Monday, June 19, 2006

Melanoma deadlier for blacks and Hispanics

Reuters:

Melanoma can be especially deadly for blacks and Hispanics because they tend to get diagnosed later than whites whose fairer skin makes them more susceptible to the skin cancer, a study said on Monday.

An improvement in the survival rate of whites with melanoma has not been matched among populations with darker skin tones who contract the cancer, which can spread to other parts of the body more readily than other skin cancers.

In a look at 1,690 melanoma cases among residents of the Miami area, the disease had reached an advanced stage in 31 percent of black patients, 16 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of whites, said study author Dr. Shasa Hu of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Delay in diagnosis allows the disease to progress and may contribute to the lower survival rates among blacks and Hispanics, the study said. Whites' survival rates have climbed to 92 percent in recent years from 68 percent in the 1970s, while blacks have a 78 percent survival rate.

"Evidence suggests that secondary prevention efforts such as skin cancer examination are suboptimal in Hispanic and black populations," the report said.

Overall, the incidence of melanoma is increasing 2.4 percent annually, according to the study published in this month's issue of the Archives of Dermatology. The disease strikes 21 out of 100,000 whites, 4 out of 100,000 Hispanics and 1 out of 100,000 blacks.

Melanoma Risk Not Just for Whites

AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO DEVELOP MELANOMA HAVE A WORSE PROGNOSIS THAN WHITES

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