What is known?
Australia has the highest rates of melanoma incidence in the world, but these vary across the country. It is unclear what drives the observed variation, but one potential cause could be differences in early detection. This study investigates how the small-area geographical patterns in melanoma incidence varied by thickness.
What is new?
The geographical areas with the highest diagnosis rates for melanoma were across south-east Queensland and northern NSW, and these areas had diagnosis rates consistently above the national average for each thickness category.
In contrast, most of the geographical areas in northern, central and western Australia tended to be below the national average diagnosis rate, and these geographical patterns were also largely consistent across all thickness categories.
What does this mean?
The general consistency of geographical patterns of melanoma incidence across thickness categories suggests that the overall patterns are more likely to be due to the underlying population risk profile than differences in diagnostic practices.
Contact: Peter Baade
Reference: Cramb SM, Duncan EW, Aitken JF, Soyer HP, Mengersen KL, Baade PD. Geographical patterns in melanoma incidence across Australia: can thickness differentials reveal the key drivers? Annals of Cancer Epidemiology. 2020; 4:11