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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1020-4989

Abstract

SCHMERLING, Rafael A et al. Cutaneous melanoma in Latin America: the need for more data. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2011, vol.30, n.5, pp. 431-438. ISSN 1020-4989.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892011001100005.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the scientific literature on cutaneous melanoma in Latin America and compile all available epidemiologic data to demonstrate the need for reliable regional and country-specific data on incidence and mortality estimates. METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Embase, LILACS, and Google Scholar databases for epidemiologic studies from 1 January 2000 to 31 October 2010 related to melanoma in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. A final search on melanoma cases was carried out using country-specific population-based cancer registries. No statistical analyses were conducted. RESULTS: For all six countries, most epidemiological research on cutaneous melanoma consists of hospital-based or case-control studies. Very few studies report incidence and mortality rates. Attempts to estimate disease rates have relied on national incidence and mortality data and information extracted from cancer registries. While predominance of European ancestry is a known risk factor for developing melanoma, the association of melanoma and ethnicity is not well-documented in some of the populations reviewed. Latin Americans are frequently exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation due to the tropical weather, high altitude, and thinning ozone layer in some regions. Tanned skin is viewed as healthy and beautiful. While melanoma public health campaigns have been under way in Latin America for decades, increasing melanoma awareness remains imperative. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need to collect accurate epidemiologic melanoma data in Latin America. Future research in the region should include more comprehensive, countryspecific, population-based studies to allow for comparative evaluation of incidence and mortality rates

Keywords : Melanoma; skin neoplasms; information systems; mortality; incidence; risk; Argentina; Brazil; Colombia; Mexico; Puerto Rico; Venezuela; Latin America.

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