Cutaneous Melanoma at an Inner City University Program and the Need for Aggressive Public Awareness Programs: A Pilot, Twelve Year Review

Khurram Tariq, Arezo Farhangi, Fauzia Rana

Abstract


Background: Cutaneous melanoma is a very common and lethal subtype of skin cancers. It is associated with certain risk factors, like exposure to UV radiation that can be avoided. It therefore essential to increase public awareness about this malignancy in order to either avoid this cancer altogether or at least be able to diagnose it in its earlier stages.

Method: This is a retrospective review of the Tumor Registry at University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville during the period between the January 1, 1995 and the December 31, 2007. Data was collected on various clinic-pathological variables including the date of registration, age, race, staging and anatomic distribution with special focus on the gender distribution of cutaneous melanoma in our patient population. Anatomic locations were classified into 4 groupings: head and neck, trunk (consisting of the sub regions of the chest, abdomen, groin, upper back, lower back, and buttocks), upper extremities (upper arms, forearms and elbows, and hands), and lower extremities (thighs, lower legs and knees, and feet). Categorical data were analyzed using Chi-square testing.

Results: Data analysis from the past 12 years revealed a total of 323 patients with primary cutaneousmelanoma with 63% (205) men, and 37% (118) females. Median age was 56 years (age range, 14-87 years). Mean age was 55 with SD +/- 16.8, women were younger than men with a mean age at diagnosis of 50 and 57 years respectively (p <.05). Patients under the age of 35 accounted for 16% of cases. 317 patients were classified as white (98%) and 6 were African American (2%). Mean age was 54 and 58 years for Caucasian and African Americans respectively with p= 0.035. Among men, 25% of the melanomas were on the head and neck, 31% on the trunk, 23% on the upper extremities and 12% on the lower extremities. For women, 17% of the melanomas were on the head and neck, 29% on the trunk, 24% on the upper extremities, and 24% on the lower extremities. The primary tumor was predominantly located on the trunk in 60% of the patients, in men (31%) and in women (29%) with P= 0.029. Significant results are tabulated in the tables listed below.

Conclusion: To our knowledge this is the first study on malignant melanoma from our institution in Jacksonville, Florida. There were more male patients than women, supporting a sex distribution difference of almost 2 to 1.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/cco.v3n1p30

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Cancer and Clinical Oncology ISSN 1927-4858(Print) ISSN 1927-4866(Online)

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