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Am J Public Health. 1996 Apr;86(4):538-43.

Cutaneous melanoma mortality among the socioeconomically disadvantaged in Massachusetts.

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Department of Dermatology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



To identify groups for melanoma prevention and early detection programs, this study explored the hypothesis that survival with cutaneous melanoma is disproportionately lower for persons of lower socioeconomic status.


Massachusetts Cancer Registry and Registry of Vital Records and Statistics data (1982 through 1987) on 3288 incident cases and 1023 deaths from cutaneous melanoma were analyzed. Mortality/incidence ratios were calculated and compared, predictors of late stage disease were examined with logistic regression analysis, and a proportional hazards regression analysis that used death registration as the outcome measure for incident cases was performed.


Lower socioeconomic status was associated with a higher mortality/incidence ratio after adjustment for age and sex. For education, the mortality/incidence ratio was 0.37 in the lower group vs 0.25 in the higher group (rate ratio = 1.48, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08, 2.03). Late stage disease was independently associated with lower income (rate ratio for lowest vs highest tertile = 1.64, 95% CI = 1.20, 2.25), and melanoma mortality among case patients was associated with lower education (rate ratio = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.09, 213).


Melanoma patients of lower socioeconomic status may be more likely to die from their melanoma than patients of higher socioeconomic status. Low- SES communities may be appropriate intervention targets.

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