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Carlos A. Reyes Ortiz, James S. Goodwin, Jean L. Freeman
Med Sci Monit 2005; 11(5): RA163-172
Melanoma represents a significant and growing public health burden worldwide, especially in Caucasian populations. The purpose of this review is to summarize the literature on the relationship between socioeconomic status (SES) and incidence, stage at diagnosis and survival from melanoma. Although differences across countries exist on the relationship of SES to specific behaviors or risk factors, our principal findings are: melanoma is more common in high SES than in low SES populations; and low SES populations present with later stages at diagnosis and experience worse survival rates from melanoma than high SES populations. Potential explanations for these findings are that high SES individuals may have a higher susceptibility and exposure (e.g., risk behaviors) for developing melanoma, and low SES individuals may have less access to educational campaigns and screening examinations and effective treatment. These differences reflect a disparity in melanoma outcomes across diverse SES populations in many countries.