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Is Melanoma Survival Worse for Adolescents, Young Adults Versus Older Adults

Adolescents and young adults with stage IV melanoma have worse survival than that seen for older adults in adjusted age group-specific models

By Lori Solomon (HealthDay News) | January 10, 2023

Adolescents and young adults (AYA) with melanoma have worse survival than older adults, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology .

Katherine Y. Wojcik, Ph.D., from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined factors associated with differences in melanoma survival among AYA (ages 15 to 39 years) and older adults (ages 40 to 64 years) in a population-based registry study involving 81,597 cases of melanoma diagnosed from 2004 to 2015.

The researchers found that AYA with stage IV melanoma had worse survival than that seen for older adults in the adjusted age group-specific models (hazard ratios for all-cause death, 20.39 versus 10.79). For AYAs, thicker tumors and public insurance were also associated with worse survival than that observed in models for older adults. When detected at earlier stages, AYAs experienced better survival.

"Although more aggressive tumors were present in AYA patients, there was no overall delay in time to treatment, suggesting potentially delayed diagnosis," the authors write. "A public health campaign to improve awareness of AYA melanoma, including in young persons of color, may disrupt potential delays in diagnosis and reduce the excess burden of mortality in young people."

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