Does American Academy of Dermatology Claim Contradict the American Cancer Society?
Two American Academy of Dermatology press statements this spring about melanoma incidence appear to directly contradict American Cancer Society statements about the disease and appear to be conflicted by the National Cancer Institute’s own data reports.
Under scrutiny are AAD statements suggesting that melanoma is increasing “particularly” among young women when NCI data show that increases are concentrated heavily in older men — who get the overwhelming majority of melanomas and who are responsible for most of the increase, according to National Cancer Institute data.
“The incidence of melanoma has been rising for at least 30 years — particularly in young white women in most recent years,” the AAD stated in a press release May 2 — the same month that AAD printed, “The incidence of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer is increasing at a rapid rate, particularly among young women” in an editorial in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.
But the American Cancer Society, in its Cancer Facts and Figures Annual report, contradicts AAD’s statement. “During the 1970s the incidence rate of melanoma increased rapidly by about 6% per year. However, from 1981-2000, the rate of increase slowed to 3% per year and since 2000 melanoma incidence has been stable,” ACS reported in its 2008 Cancer Facts and Figures Annual Report. “The death rate for melanoma has been decreasing rapidly in whites younger than 50, by 3% per year since 1991 in men and by 2.3% per year since 1985 in women.”
The melanoma mortality rate for men is more than double the rate for women (3.9 per 100,000 vs. 1.7 per 100,000) according to the National Cancer Institute.