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Melanoma Survival Varies Among U.S. States

Worse survival in states with more physicians; higher death rates in states with lower incidence

FRIDAY, Jan. 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — U.S. states with more physicians and a larger percentage of non-Hispanic whites have worse melanoma survival, according to a study published online Jan. 16 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Zachary H. Hopkins, M.D., from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues examined possible sociodemographic and health care-based predictors of differences in U.S. melanoma survival. U.S. Cancer Statistics data from 1999 to 2014 were used to calculate state-based melanoma mortality-to-incidence ratios (MIRs).

The researchers found that the mean overall MIR was 0.15 ± 0.04, with Alaska being the only outlier (0.24). Over time, no state MIRs increased significantly; for most states, MIRs decreased. In multivariable analysis, higher MIRs (poorer survival) were seen in states with more active physicians and a higher percentage of non-Hispanic whites. Significant correlations were noted between MIR and melanoma incidence, melanoma mortality, dermatologist density, and National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center count.

“The analysis is telling us that two people with similar melanomas could have very different outcomes based on where they live and the care they receive,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We can use this information to improve care to help more people survive.”

One author disclosed financial ties to VisualDx.

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