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Melanoma Often Spotted Later Among Blacks, Hispanics

Posted: June 20, 2006
Blacks and Hispanics with melanoma, the potentially deadly skin cancer, tend to have it diagnosed at a later, more advanced stage than whites, researchers report.

Over the past decade, melanoma has become more common, with the rate of new cases increasing 2.4 percent every year in the United States. Because whites are at higher risk for the disease, most prevention and detection efforts have targeted them.

This may be why survival rates among whites have increased from 68 percent in the 1970s to 92 percent today. Unfortunately, the same improvement in survival hasn't been replicated among blacks and Hispanics, the University of Miami researchers noted.

"We found that patients who were black and Hispanic were diagnosed later for melanoma than white patients in Miami-Dade County, Florida," said lead researcher Dr. Robert Kirsner, professor and vice chairman of dermatology and cutaneous surgery at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Their findings appear in the June issue of the Archives of Dermatology.