Scientists at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), Stanford University, and the University of Southern California/Keck School of Medicine have found that while Hispanics have much lower risks of developing melanoma than non-Hispanic whites in California, they develop the disease at younger ages, develop thicker tumors, which are more difficult to treat, and experience a higher percentage of cases among people living in poorer neighborhoods.
Just published in the journal Cancer, this finding follows a 2009 CPIC finding that melanoma rates are increasing in all socioeconomic and racial/ethnic groups nationally, and points to the need for prevention efforts tailored to Hispanics, who represent 36% of California’s population.
The recent statewide study examined the importance of socioeconomic status in relation to melanoma incidence and tumor subtype and location among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. Using data from the California Cancer Registry, the scientists investigated characteristics of cases for all 4,607 Hispanics and 83,859 non-Hispanic whites diagnosed with malignant melanoma of the skin in California from 1988 to 2007.
“These data are important evidence that messages around melanoma awareness and prevention may need to be tailored specifically to Hispanic populations in California,” said Dr. Christina Clarke, a coauthor of the study. “We are clearly seeing the worst kinds of melanoma — the thick tumors that have spread and are likely to be deadly—disproportionately among Hispanic men, especially those living in poorer neighborhoods.”
Cancer Prevention Institute of California