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Socioeconomic Status Linked to Melanoma Outcomes

Blacks have poorer survival than whites

THURSDAY, Jan. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Melanoma patients with low socioeconomic status are more likely to have a poorer outcome, although blacks still have poorer survival than whites regardless of treatment or socioeconomic status, according to study findings published in the Jan. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Jason A. Zell, from the University of California-Irvine, and colleagues examined whether low socioeconomic status predicted survival in 39,049 patients with melanoma (36,694 white patients, 127 black patients, 1,996 Hispanic patients, and 262 Asian Americans) using data from the California Cancer Registry.

The researchers found a significant association between high socioeconomic status and early stage at presentation, treatment with surgery and prolonged survival. After adjusting for a number of variables, blacks, but not Asian Americans or Hispanics, had a significantly higher risk of death than whites (hazard ratio 1.60).

"Low socioeconomic status independently predicts poor outcome among patients with cutaneous melanoma," Zell and colleagues conclude. "However, the poor overall survival observed for African American patients with melanoma is not explained by differences in treatment or socioeconomic status."

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