Publication Abstract

Authors: Rouhani P, Arheart KL, Kirsner RS

Title: Differences in melanoma outcomes among Hispanic Medicare enrollees.

Journal: J Am Acad Dermatol 62(5):768-76

Date: 2010 May

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hispanics are given the diagnosis of melanoma at later stages and have reduced survival. OBJECTIVE: We sought to evaluate the effect of Hispanic ethnicity and different health care delivery systems (fee-for-service [FFS] and health maintenance organizations) on melanoma stage at diagnosis and survival. METHODS: We studied a retrospective cohort of 40,633 patients, with at least 3 years of follow-up, who were given the diagnosis of incident melanoma from 1991 to 2002 and were 65 years or older using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare linked database. The analytic sample consisted of 39,962 non-Hispanic whites (NHW) and 671 Hispanics. Logistic regression models examined the roles of the health care delivery system and race/ethnicity in stage at diagnosis and survival. RESULTS: For FFS patients, Hispanics were more likely to be given a diagnosis at an advanced stage (distant vs earlier stages [odds ratio {OR} = 2.07; 95% confidence interval CI = 1.36-3.16]; regional vs earlier stages [OR = 2.31; 95% CI = 1.75-3.03]) compared with NHW. Among Hispanic patients, those enrolled in health maintenance organizations were less likely to be given a diagnosis at later stage (regional vs earlier stages [OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.31-0.81]) than FFS patients; however, the earlier stage at diagnosis did not improve survival. For patients with a previous cancer before their melanoma diagnoses, NHW enrolled in health maintenance organizations from 1991 to 2002 were given a diagnosis at earlier stages compared with NHW FFS patients (OR = 0.72; 95% CI = 0.52-0.99); this was not found among Hispanics. LIMITATIONS: These results reflect findings in a Medicare-aged population and it is not clear if they are generalizable to younger patients. CONCLUSIONS: Differences in melanoma outcomes among different ethnic groups are, in part, dependent on the health care setting in which patients are enrolled.