Socioeconomic Differences Can Predict Outcomes for Most Melanoma Patients But Not for Blacks, Study Says
Although socioeconomic status can strongly predict outcomes for people with melanoma, it does not explain poor overall survival among blacks with skin cancer, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Reuters reports.
The study looked at 34,049 patients diagnosed with melanoma between 1993 and 2003. According to the study, people with higher socioeconomic status were more likely than those with lower socioeconomic status to be diagnosed with melanoma at an early stage, have surgery to remove tumors and survive longer. Those with the highest socioeconomic status were 37% less likely to die, even after accounting for differences in age, gender, cancer stage and other factors.
African-Americans were 60% more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from melanoma, while there were no differences in survival among Asians, Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, the study found. Study researcher Jason Zell of the University of California-Irvine said that while melanoma is not very common among blacks, the study showed that "survival among African-American melanoma patients is poor" and cannot be explained by differences in cancer stage, treatment or socioeconomic factors (Rauscher, Reuters, 1/21).
An abstract of the study is available online.