Rising rates of melanoma cannot be attributed to better screening and detection of thin melanomas, according to a paper published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. If this is the case, it could become a major concern for at-risk populations and their healthcare providers.
Eleni Linos and colleagues observe that incidence of melanoma increased for both men and women across all categories of tumor thickness, including the more deadly 'thick' tumors - those growing deeper than 4mm into the skin. The team analyzed over 70,000 new cases of malignant melanoma in non-Hispanic white populations in the US between 1992 and 2004. Because incidence has increased but mortality rates have remained more stable, it is controversial whether the statistics represent a true epidemic. The researchers argue, however, that because the incidence has gone up for both men and women of all social groups and across all tumor thicknesses, this represents a genuine increase in melanoma cases. They believe that the significantly elevated incidence in older white men calls for greater awareness, as the data suggests rates exceed more than 125 cases per 100,000 men aged 65 and older.
Eleni Linos (Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA)(C) Journal of Investigative Dermatology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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