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Skin cancer diagnosed earlier, more frequently in whites

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

Although Caucasians are more commonly diagnosed with the potentially deadly melanoma than other races, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced forms of the disease when skin cancer testing is performed, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine examined the medical histories of more than 41,000 patients diagnosed with melanoma between 1990 and 2004 from the Florida Cancer Data System, Science Daily reports.

Although 39,670 patients analyzed were white, only 12 percent of the group was diagnosed with the most advanced stage of the cancer. By comparison, a total of 18 percent of Hispanics and 26 percent of African Americans were diagnosed at that stage when disease was identified.

"Earlier detection of melanoma likely accounts for the improved survival among whites from 68 percent in the early 1970s to 92 percent in recent years," the study's authors wrote in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

They added, "Such advances, however, have not occurred in other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 about 16 percent of Caucasians diagnosed with melanoma died from the disease, compared to almost 48 percent of African Americans.

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