Health Disparities Influence Childhood Melanoma Stage at Diagnosis and Outcome

Emma C. Hamilton, Hoang T. Nguyen, Yu Chia Chang, Jan M. Eberth, Janice Cormier, Linda S. Elting, Mary T. Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Objective To identify health disparities in pediatric patients with melanoma that affect disease presentation and outcome. Study design This was a retrospective cohort study of all persons aged ≤18 years diagnosed with melanoma and enrolled in the Texas Cancer Registry between 1995 and 2009. Socioeconomic status (SES) and driving distance to the nearest pediatric cancer treatment center were calculated for each patient. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with advanced-stage disease. Life table methods and Cox regression were used to estimate survival probability and hazard ratios. Results A total of 185 adolescents (age >10 years) and 50 young children (age ≤10 years) were identified. Hispanics (n = 27; 12%) were 3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites (n = 177; 75%) to present with advanced disease (OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.7-8.8). Young children were twice as likely as adolescents to present with advanced disease (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.3). Distance to treatment center and SES did not affect stage of disease at presentation. Hispanics and those in the lowest SES quartile had a significantly higher mortality risk (hazard ratios, 3.0 [95% CI, 1.2-7.8] and 4.3 [95% CI, 1.4-13.9], respectively). In the adjusted survival model, only advanced disease was predictive of mortality (P <.001). Conclusion Hispanics and young children with melanoma are more likely to present with advanced disease, and advanced disease is the single most important predictor of survival. Heightened awareness among physicians is needed to facilitate early detection of melanoma within these groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-187
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • health services research
  • pediatric melanoma
  • racial disparities
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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