Original Article

Late-Stage Melanoma: Be Sure to Screen Uninsured, Unmarried Men

Authors: Virginia L. Valentin, DrPH, PA-C, Wayne Sanderson, PhD, MS, Susan Westneat, MA, Eric Durbin, DrPH, MS


Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess for any associations between individual and social factors and late-stage melanoma in Kentucky from 1995 to 2013.

Methods: The study combines three datasets: individual-level data from the Kentucky Cancer Registry, census tract–level data from the US Census, and county-level physician licensure data from the Kentucky Department for Public Health. The study population is described by all cases, early stage, and late stage. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the unadjusted associations between each covariate and early-stage and late-stage disease groups. All of the significant variables were assessed for interaction effect, and the significant interaction terms were used in the final model. Multiple logistic regression provided the final model of late-stage disease.

Results: In this study population, a dramatic increase in melanoma incidence is seen from 1995 to 2013 with a threefold increase in the number of cases per year. Of the 10,109 cases reported, 13.6% have late-stage disease, with a mean age for all cases at 56.9 years and the majority being men. Late-stage cases are more commonly uninsured or insured with Medicaid or Medicare compared with cases with early-stage lesions. Having a spouse or partner is clearly protective from being diagnosed as having late-stage melanoma, whereas being uninsured or having Medicaid increases the odds of late-stage melanoma.

Conclusions: The incidence of melanoma is increasing dramatically. With no screening recommendation for the general population from the US Preventive Task Force, clinicians should focus on those at increased risk of late-stage melanoma: unmarried men who are uninsured or receiving Medicaid.

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