US states with fewer diagnoses of melanoma have the highest mortality rates of the disease, a new study says.
Researchers at the University of Utah Health found that the states with the highest incidence of skin cancer – Oregon, Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire – have the best survival rates.
However, the states with the lowest incidence – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and Nevada – have the worst survival rates.
States that have both high incidence and high mortality rates of melanoma have more white residents – who are most susceptible to the disease – but may also have more specialists who accept more severe cases with poor survival rates, the researchers believe.
A new study found that states with the highest incidence of skin cancer – Oregon, Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire – have the best chance of survival (see photo)
Melanoma starts in the melanocytes, a type of skin cell that makes melanin and gives the skin a brown or brown color.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 96,000 people will be diagnosed with melanoma by 2019 and that more than 7200 people will die.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer and – although melanoma accounts for one percent of skin cancer – it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.
For the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, the researchers looked at the mortality-to-incidence ratio (MIR) per state.
Between 1999 and 2014, data was collected from the database of cancer statistics from the United States and the MIR was collected by dividing the mortality rate by the incidence.
The researchers discovered that Hawaii had the lowest MIR and that Alaska had the highest.
In fact, Alaska was the only state in which survival deteriorated significantly in the course of the research period.
& # 39; Although we are not sure why, it is plausible that there are fewer resources [in Alaska] to go to big cities to receive care, & # 39; said first author. Zachary Hopkins, a resident of internal medicine at the University of Utah, DailyMail.com.
Researchers then compared the MIR of each state with its respective variables, such as the number of doctors in a population, health care expenditures and sociodemographic variables, including family income and race.
The team discovered that there were two factors related to a low survival rate: a large number of practicing physicians and a larger number of whites.
"With more physicians in an area with a more robust system, we expected the survival rate to be better," said Dr. Hopkins.
The researchers say that states with large medical centers – which employ a large number of doctors – have specialized cancer centers that see more complex or serious cases.
& # 39; These can be major referral centers – such as in Utah we take cases of melanoma because we are one of the major centers & # 39 ;, said Dr. Hopkins.
& # 39; Same with MD Anderson in Texas, [Memorial] Sloan Kettering in New York. So the cases that doctors can see have a tendency to worse survival. & # 39;
Conversely, the states with the lowest incidence – Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and Nevada – have the worst survival rates (pictured)
However, the large percentage of whites associated with worse outcomes was not surprising.
According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is at least 20 times more common in white adults than in black adults.
The life-long risk of white adult melanoma is 2.6 percent compared to 0.1 percent for blacks and 0.58 percent for Hispanics.
& # 39; Although it was less surprising, it is possible that minorities may not be able to receive care or have difficulty [healthcare] system, & # 39; said Dr. Hopkins.
& # 39; That would be another interesting hypothesis to explore at state level. & # 39;
For future research, the team intends to look at the survival rates within each state and to compare the survival rates between different socio-economic groups, including the income and race of the household.
"Although survival seems to improve, that change is not homogeneous," said Dr. Hopkins.
& # 39; Some [states] improve more than others. Identifying those in the system can make improvements possible in the future. & # 39;