NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Praxis Press) Several patient attributes have been linked with a later stage of melanoma at the time of diagnosis, which in turn confers a poorer prognosis. Van Durme and colleagues studied sociodemographic variables in 1,884 patients diagnosed with melanoma. Regional lymph node or distant metastases were present in 12.9% of patients. A late-stage diagnosis was significantly more likely among patients who were single (odds ratio, 1.5), male (odds ratio, 2.2), smokers (odds ratio, 2.2), and residents of communities with low median educational levels (odds ratio, 1.5). Certain sociodemographic features may help physicians identify patients with a high risk of late-stage melanoma; these patients should be extensively counseled about skin cancer prevention and detection.

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