Study Evaluates Melanoma Trends in High-risk Region of United States

Melanoma incidence in Hispanic men and African-American women residing in Florida may be higher than in other regions of the United States. These findings were recently published in the journal Archives of Dermatology.[1]

Many cases of melanoma are thought to be related to sun exposure. Preventative measures include avoidance of sun exposure, avoidance of tanning beds, and the use of sunscreens. Many educational initiatives have been deployed throughout the country to raise the awareness of the rising melanoma epidemic in an effort to improve screening and prevention. In a prior study evaluating trends in melanoma incidence as related to UV index and lower latitude, no link to melanoma incidence in Hispanics or African Americans was demonstrated.[2]

In this study researchers evaluated data from the Florida Cancer Data System and compared it with the data from the National Cancer Institute’s national database of cancer statistics called the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. Melanoma incidence was evaluated for age, sex, and ethnicity and compared in order to identify trends in Florida, which is considered a higher-risk region for melanoma in the United States.

  • Male Hispanic Floridians were reported to experience a 20% higher incidence of melanoma compared with male Hispanics in the national database.
  • Female Hispanic Floridians were reported to experience a significantly lower incidence of melanoma compared with female Hispanics in the national database.
  • Female African-American Floridians (non-Hispanic) were reported to experience a 60% higher incidence of melanoma compared with African-American females in the national database.

This study highlights the importance of education about the early signs of melanoma for all patient populations, regardless of race. Although Hispanics and African Americans have a lower risk of developing melanoma, they tend to present with more-advanced disease.


[1] Rouhani R, Pinheiro PS, Sherman R, et al. Increasing Rates of Melanoma Among Nonwhites in Florida Compared With the United States. Archives of Dermatology. 2010;146:741-746.

[2] Eide MJ and Weistock MA. Association of UV Index, Latitude, and Melanoma Incidence in Nonwhite Populations— US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 1992 to 2001. Archives of Dermatology. 2005;141:477-481.

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