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Ethnic, Racial Disparities Seen in Florida Melanoma Cases

White Hispanics, African-Americans more likely to present with regional, distant disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In Florida, the incidence of melanoma is rapidly increasing among white non-Hispanics and white Hispanics, and there is a significant racial disparity in the proportion of cases presenting with advanced disease, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

Shasa Hu, M.D., of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed 41,072 cases of melanoma reported in Florida between 1990 and 2004, including 39,670 among white non-Hispanics, 1,148 among white Hispanics, and 254 among African-Americans.

The researchers found that melanoma incidence remained relatively stable among African-Americans, but observed yearly rate increases among white non-Hispanic men and white non-Hispanic women (3 and 3.6 percent, respectively), as well as among white Hispanic men and white Hispanic women (0.9 and 3.4 percent, respectively). They also found that white non-Hispanics had a lower rate of regional or distant-stage melanoma at presentation (12 percent) compared to white Hispanics and African-Americans (18 and 26 percent, respectively).

"As our specialty moves forward, it is of vital importance that we not relegate our efforts exclusively to surveillance and database reviews but move quickly in an attempt to intervene," state the authors of an accompanying editorial. "An effective education and outreach model that transcends cultural and language barriers must be formulated. This article offers suggestions for a number of potential points of investigation and intervention. It is important for physicians, researchers, and the general public to realize that disparities are not inevitable."

The author of the editorial reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical companies.

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