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Rates of Head, Neck Melanoma Up in North American Youth

Risk for head, neck melanoma higher for male sex, older age, non-Hispanic white ethnicity

TUESDAY, Oct. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — From 1995 to 2014, there was a 51.1 percent increase in the incidence of pediatric, adolescent, and young adult head and neck melanoma in North America, according to a study published online Oct. 3 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Haley N. Bray, M.D., from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the 20-year demographic and incidence changes associated with head and neck melanoma using data from 12,462 pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients aged 0 to 39 years with a confirmed melanoma diagnosis.

The researchers found that the age-adjusted incidence rate (AAIR) was 0.51 per 100,000 persons. The rate was higher in the United States than in Canada (AAIR, 0.52 versus 0.43 per 100,000 persons). In the United States, the incidence increased 4.68 and 1.15 percent yearly from 1995 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2014, respectively. In Canada, from 1995 to 2014, the incidence increased 2.18 percent yearly. Increased incidence of head and neck melanoma was associated with male sex (AAIR, 0.55), older age (AAIR, 0.79), and non-Hispanic white race/ethnicity (AAIR, 0.79; all per 100,000 persons).

“It seems that this increase is most substantial in white adolescent and young adult males (15 to 39 years), especially in the United States,” the authors write.

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