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Cancer. 2006 Mar 1;106(5):1162-8.

Developing epidemic of melanoma in the Hispanic population of California.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, USC/Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90089, USA.



Hispanics comprise almost one-third of the population of California, are the most rapidly increasing racial/ethnic group in the state, and represent almost one-third of all Hispanics in the U.S. California has among the highest rates of melanoma in the world, yet little is known about trends in melanoma in its Hispanic population.


Trends in invasive and in situ melanoma incidence data and melanoma mortality data, between 1988 and 2001, from the California Cancer Registry were analyzed. Trends in the Hispanic population were compared with those in the non-Hispanic white population. Time trends in tumors of differing thicknesses and histology were assessed.


There was a statistically significant 1.8% per year increase in incidence of invasive melanomas among Hispanic males and a similar but non-statistically significant increase in invasive melanoma among Hispanic females between 1988 and 2001. Among Hispanic males and females tumors thicker than 1.5 mm at presentation increased at 11.6% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.1, 15.2) and 8.9% per year (95% CI, 4.7, 13.3), respectively.


Rates of invasive melanoma have increased markedly among Hispanics in California since 1988. In contrast to trends in the non-Hispanic white population, increases in melanoma in Hispanics have been confined to thicker tumors, whose prognosis is poor. We recommend that efforts be undertaken immediately to target both primary and secondary melanoma prevention messages to Hispanic communities.

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