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Increasing Melanoma Rates in Victorians Aged 55+
The incidence of invasive melanoma is declining among Victorians under 55 years of age, but is still increasing in those aged 55 or more, according to a report on melanoma rates recently published in The Medical Journal of Australia.
In a population-based, descriptive analysis of Victorian Cancer Registry data including Victorian residents diagnosed with melanoma between 1985 and 2015, researchers aimed to estimate the incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma in Victoria and examine trends in its incidence over the past 30 years.
In 2015, melanoma rates in Victoria was 52.9 cases per 100,000 men and 39.2 cases per 100,000 women. Since the mid-1990s, the incidence for men increased annually by 0.9 per cent, but for women there was no significant change – the estimated annual percentage change was –0.1 per cent.
The incidence of invasive melanoma has been declining in age groups under 55 years of age since 1996, with an overall annual change of –1.7 per cent. However, it is still increasing in those over 55, with an overall annual change of 1.6 per cent.
The most frequent site of tumours in men was the trunk (40 per cent), and on women the most common sites were the upper (32 per cent) and lower limbs (31 per cent).
The report thus found that the incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma has stabilised in recent years. Invasive melanoma rates are declining among Victorians under 55 years of age, but are still increasing in those aged 55 or more, but at a slower rate than before the mid-1990s.
Researchers concluded that melanoma remains a significant health problem, warranting continued prevention efforts. Awareness of differences in presentation by men and women and in different age groups would facilitate improved screening and risk identification.
David J Curchin, Victoria R Harris, Christopher J McCormack and Saxon D Smith. Changing trends in the incidence of invasive melanoma in Victoria, 1985–2015. Med J Aust 2018; 208 (6): 265-269. || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00725. Published online: 2 April 2018.