Melanoma Incidence Increasing Among Latinos
The incidence of so-called thick tumors from melanoma has been increasing by about 15% annually among Latino males in California since 1988, according to a study released Monday by the University of Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The study examined all melanoma cases among California residents with Latino surnames from 1988 through 2001. In 1988, there were 2.8 cases of melanoma per 100,000 Latino males, compared with 17.2 cases per 100,000 white males.
By the end of the study, thick tumors -- those more than 1.5 millimeters thick -- accounted for 35.4% of tumors among Latino males, compared with 24.4% of tumors among white males.
Researchers are concerned because Latinos have greater incidences of thick tumors, which are more likely to cause death. For tumors less than 0.75 mm think, the survival rate after diagnosis is between 80% and 100%, compared with survival rates between 40% and 80% after diagnosis with thick tumors.
The study found that melanoma incidences among all Latinos increased by an average of 1.8% per year over the study period. However, in the past five years, that rate increased by nearly 7% annually. Melanoma cases among white males increased by 3.9% annually and increased by 3.3% annually for white females over the study period.
Epidemiologist Myles Cockburn of USC's Keck School of Medicine said the results of the study likely can be applied nationwide (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 1/24).