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Study Looks at Incidence of Melanoma Among Indigenous Americans

Incidence rates higher among men than women and for those aged 55 years or older versus age 15 to 39 years

By Dermsquared Editorial Team | December 27, 2023

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 27, 2023 -- The incidence of invasive cutaneous melanoma among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native individuals is 10.7 per 100,000, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in JAMA Dermatology.

Julie S. Townsend, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues examined invasive cutaneous melanoma incidence rates and trends over time among non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people in a descriptive, observational, cross-sectional study. Trends were examined from 1999 to 2019 by demographic and clinical characteristics, such as age, sex, geographic region, histology, stage, and tumor site.

The researchers found that 2,151 non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people received a diagnosis of incident cutaneous melanoma from 1999 to 2019 (rate, 10.7 per 100,000). The rates were higher among male than female individuals (13.0 versus 9.2) and for those aged 55 years and older versus those aged 15 to 39 years (24.2 versus 3.5). The highest rates were seen for men aged 55 years and older (34.5), and for men and women living in the Southern Plains (23.8 and 15.5, respectively) and Pacific Coast region (16.5 and 12.3, respectively). From 1999 to 2019, rates increased among women, among regional/distant stage tumors, and for people aged 55 years and older (average annual percent changes, 2.5, 2.5, and 2.8, respectively).

"We applaud Townsend et al for their careful demonstration that misclassification of race among American Indian/Alaska Native people potentially underreports the burden of disease in the population, especially late-stage melanomas," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.


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