Melanoma Increasing; Detection, Prevention Needed

by U.S. Medicine

December 5, 2013

HARTFORD, CT – Melanoma is on the increase, and more needs to be done to promote prevention and early-detection of the sometimes deadly disease, according to a new study.

The authors pointed out that melanoma is the most commonly fatal form of skin cancer, with nearly 50,000 annual deaths worldwide.

Research groups, including the VA Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research, sought to assess long-term trends in the incidence and mortality of melanoma in Connecticut, where complete and consistent registration records are available. Their results were published recently in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Using data from the Connecticut Tumor Registry, researchers sought to determine trends in invasive melanoma (1950-2007), in situ melanoma (1973-2007), tumor thickness (1993-2007), mortality (1950-2007), and mortality to incidence (1950-2007) among the 19,973 Connecticut residents diagnosed with invasive melanoma from 1950 to 2007, as well as the 3,635 patients who died of the disease during that time period. Used as primary outcome measures were  trends in incidence and mortality by age, sex, and birth cohort.

The study found that, during the initial period (1950-1954), a diagnosis of invasive melanoma was rare, with 1.9 patient cases per 100,000 for men and 2.6 patient cases per 100,000 for women. Between 1950 and 2007, however, overall incidence rates rose more than 17-fold in men (1.9 to 33.5 per 100,000) and more than nine-fold in women (2.6 to 25.3 per 100,000).

During those six decades, mortality rates also more than tripled in men (1.6 to 4.9 per 100,000) and doubled in women (1.3 to 2.6 per 100,000). Mortality rates were generally stable or decreasing in men and women through age 54 years, however, the study reported.

“Unremitting increases in incidence and mortality of melanoma call for a nationally coordinated effort to encourage and promote innovative prevention and early-detection efforts,” the authors said.

1.    Geller AC, Clapp RW, Sober AJ, Gonsalves L, Mueller L, Christiansen CL, Shaikh W, Miller DR. Melanoma Epidemic: An Analysis of Six Decades of Data From the Connecticut Tumor Registry. J Clin Oncol. 2013 Sep 16. [Epub ahead of print]PubMed PMID: 24043747.


Related Articles

New Agents Extend Options for Increased Survival in Metastatic Prostate Cancer

Accounting for nearly a third of all cancer diagnoses, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the VHA, where past research has suggested that the malignancy is caught earlier than in other healthcare systems.

Personalized Medicine Brightens Outlook for Most Common Kidney Cancer

In the past five years, 10 new system therapies have been approved for renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Bill to Streamline, Expand VA’s Choice Program Signed Into Law

Legislation that would streamline VA’s community care programs into one program and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras was signed into law earlier this month..

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Despite Criticism, VA Healthcare as Good or Better Than Other Systems

The good news from a recent consultant study is that, overall, the VA healthcare system is generally equal or better than others when inpatient and outpatient quality is measured.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Inks Contract for Massive New Health Record System

Calling it one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, with a ceiling of $10 billion over a decade, then-VA Acting Secretary Robert Wilkie announced that the agency signed a contract with Cerner for its new electronic health record (EHR).

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Surprise! President Nominates Wilkie for Permanent VA Secretary

President Donald Trump said last month that acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie “has done an incredible job” and, in a surprise move, nominated him for the permanent Cabinet position.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up