UV Radiation, Latitude, and Melanoma in US Hispanics and Blacks

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Abstract

Background

Little information exists on the epidemiology of melanoma and the role of solar radiation in the development of melanoma in pigmented populations.

Objective

To evaluate the relationship between exposure to solar radiation and the incidence of melanoma in US Hispanics and blacks.

Design

Population-based ecological study.

Setting

State cancer registries of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Texas, and Florida.

Subjects

Patients with invasive melanoma recorded by cancer registries.

Main Outcome Measures

We obtained age-adjusted, race/ethnicity- and sex-specific incidence rates of melanoma from similar time periods from the 6 cancer registries. The incidence rates were correlated with the annual mean UV index and the latitude of residency.

Results

For both Hispanics and blacks, the incidence of melanoma was positively associated with the UV index and negatively associated with the latitude of residency. Statistically significant correlation between melanoma and the UV index (R = 0.93; P = .01) and latitude (R = −0.80; P = .05) was observed in black males. Hispanics and blacks have a significantly lower incidence of melanoma than whites, with blacks having the lowest rates of melanoma.

Conclusions

Exposure to solar radiation appears to play a role in the development of melanoma in both Hispanics and blacks. Sun protection and melanoma risk education should be performed in these populations.

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