Racial disparities in melanoma survival

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Melanoma is a cutaneous malignancy common in the white population but can also occur in other racial groups.


We sought to evaluate survival across racial groups in patients given a diagnosis of malignant melanoma.


The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database was used to populate a cohort of 96,953 patients given a diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma as their primary cancer, from 1992 to 2009.


White patients had the longest survival time (P < .05), followed by Hispanic (P < .05), Asian American/Native American/Pacific Islander (P < .05), and black (P < .05) patients, respectively. Survival stratified by race and stage showed that for stages I and III, blacks had a significantly lower survival (P < .05), and increased hazard ratios (stage I hazard ratio, 3.037 [95% confidence interval, 2.335-3.951]; stage III hazard ratio, 1.864 [95% confidence interval, 1.211-2.87]). The proportion of later stage cutaneous melanoma (stages II-IV) was greater in blacks compared with whites.


Despite higher incidence of cutaneous melanoma in whites, overall survival for cutaneous melanoma in non-whites was significantly lower. Our results suggest that more emphasis is needed for melanoma screening and awareness in non-white populations to improve survival outcomes.

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