Impact of socioeconomic status and district of residence on cutaneous malignant melanoma prognosis: a survival study on incident cases between 1991 and 2011 in the province of Ferrara, northern Italy

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The aim of this study was to analyse the impact of socioeconomic status (SES) on the prognosis of patients with invasive malignant melanoma (MM) incident from 1991 to 2011 in the province of Ferrara, northern Italy. A total of 750 patients provided by the Area Vasta Emilia Centrale Cancer Registry were included in this retrospective cohort study. Prognosis was analysed in terms of overall survival and specific survival. The study determinants were the patients’ SES and district of residence. The confounding effect of sex, age, period and TNM stage at diagnosis was evaluated. In the study population, neither overall survival nor specific survival showed significant differences among different layers of SES and districts of residence. The risk for death from MM was lower for the female sex [hazard risk (HR)=0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50–0.94] and for diagnoses made in the most recent period (2005–2011: HR=0.56, 95% CI: 0.36–0.89 with respect to 1991–1997). A worse prognosis was observed in patients older than 70 years at the time of diagnosis (HR=2.33, 95% CI: 1.39–3.91 with respect to the <40-year age group) and in patients with more than pT1 tumours (up to 20 times for pT4 tumours). SES and district of residence did not constitute prognostic factors for MM patients residing in the province of Ferrara. Homogeneity in MM staging, treatment and follow-up strategies due to the relatively small extent of the study area and the presence of a single university hospital of reference, as well as less marked social and economic differences among the study patients in comparison with other previously analysed populations, may account for this finding.

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