Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jessica Stroup Complex Magazine Photo Shoot

In an accompanying editorial, Dr.’s Claudia Hernandez and Robin J. Mermelstein of the University of Illinois at Chicago said this study “adds melanoma to the list of documented health disparities in ethnic minority populations that includes asthma, cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease among others.” These disparities can be influenced by biological, cultural, and environmental factors, such as genetic predisposition, socioeconomic status, and ultraviolet light exposure, but can also relate to healthcare system factors, such as difficulties in communication, access, and participation in research.

Hernandez and Mermelstein said that unless there is a major breakthrough in treatment for advanced melanoma, the primary opportunity for decreasing the death rate lies with increased surveillance. However, this must be accompanied by intervention, they stated. “An effective education and outreach model that transcends cultural and language barriers must be formulated,” they wrote. “It is important for physicians, researchers, and the general public to realize that disparities are not inevitable. All population groups deserve equal access, equal care, and equal opportunity to enjoy good health.”

Melanoma is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States. Over the last decade, the incidence of melanoma has increased 2.4 percent each year. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 68,720 new cases will be diagnosed in 2009 and 8,640 people will die from it. Often, the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole. Most melanomas have a black or blue-black area. Melanoma also may appear as a new mole that may be black, abnormal, or “ugly looking.” If you have a question or concern about something on your skin, don’t wait—see your health care provider.

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