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Invasive Skin Cancer On The Rise in Hispanics

Researchers have identified an increased incidence of melanoma among the Hispanic population of California. In a new study published in the March 1, 2006 issue// of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the researchers say that this melanoma- an invasive form of skin cancer- is of the thicker variety, meaning that it has relatively poor prognosis.

It is generally accepted that melanoma is by far a minor percentage of all skin cancers, but a major percentage of all deaths from skin cancer. The thicker the lesion, the greater the penetrance into deeper areas of the skin, the more chances of it proving to be fatal. California and Central America are relatively hot places and the sun burns down harshly in these areas. Historically, whites have been known to have a greater risk of c\skin cancer given their sensitivity to exposure from the sun, but this is the first time that risks in Hispanics has been documented. Myles G. Cockburn, Ph.D. of the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and colleagues compared the ratio of melanoma and melanoma-related deaths between the Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites residing in California. They found that between 1988 and 2001, the incidence of melanoma in Hispanic men increased many fold as compared to Hispanic women and non-Hispanic whites. The rate increased by an average of 1.8 percent per year in Hispanic men. It was also found that 55 percent of the tumors in Hispanic men measured more than 0.75mm thick as against 47 percent in non-Hispanic white men. The authors say that these trends are worrying "because primary and secondary melanoma prevention efforts are focused on white (i.e., non-Hispanic) populations."

Original Article: "Developing Epidemic of Melanoma in the Hispanic Population of California," Myles G Cockburn, John Zadnick, Dennis Deapen, CANCER; Published Online: January 23, 2006 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21654); Print Issue Date: March 1, 2006.


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