Increased Relative Proportions of Advanced Melanoma Among Veterans
The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program represents one-third of the US population. SEER, on the other hand, may not be applicable to the veteran population. Because veterans are a high-risk population, the disparity may hinder understanding of melanoma epidemiology in such high-risk populations. For a study, researchers sought to evaluate veterans’ demographics, tumor features, and melanoma-specific survival (MSS) in the general population. From 2009 to 2017, data were obtained from the Veterans Affairs Cancer Registry (VACR) and SEER (18 registries).
They found melanoma in 15,334 veterans and 166,265 SEER patients. Veterans were more likely to come with regional or remote sickness (17.5% vs. 13.0% in SEER). The 5-year MSS in VACR was lower than in SEER across all ages, except those diagnosed at 80 years. MSS decreased throughout all VACR phases from 2009 to 2017. However, when comparing stage IV melanomas identified between 2015 and 2017, the 2-year MSS rose from 37.8% to 51.5% in VACR against 36.4% to 44.8% in SEER. Veterans with melanoma were detected later than in SEER, although both showed recent improvement in stage IV MSS.