Regional and State Differences in Melanoma Rates in the US Interview with:
Jessica S. Mounessa, BS
Robert P. Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Dermatology Service, Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, Colorado
Department of Dermatology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the U.S., despite ongoing efforts to address this major public health problem. Over 9,000 deaths occur annually, and mortality rates continue to increase faster than those associated with any other preventable cancer. Malignant melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, accounts for the overwhelming majority of these deaths.

Our study identified regional and state differences in the incidence and mortality rates of melanoma in the United States. We found that the Northeast, specifically New England, represents the only U.S. region in which the majority of states experienced a reduction in both incidence and death rates over the ten-year period between 2003 and 2013. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Skin cancer prevention programs may effectively reduce the burden of melanoma in the United States. Over the time period investigated, non-profit organizations such as the Melanoma Foundation of New England (MFNE) became increasingly more active in Northeastern region. For example, the MFNE installed sunscreen dispensers at parks and recreational centers and successfully increased awareness on the topic. Their work serves as a model to improve education and sun protective behaviors. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: In future studies, specific programs led by skin cancer prevention organizations may be investigated to better elucidate which techniques work best. Further funding of such programs is needed at a state, regional, and national level. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Mounessa JS, Caravaglio JV, Dellavalle RP. Comparison of Regional and State Differences in Melanoma Rates in the United States 2003 vs 2013. JAMA Dermatol. Published online December 28, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.4625

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on January 2, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD