A new study from the American Cancer Society found that declines in deaths from melanoma, a kind of skin cancer, are limited to those with the most education. Deaths from melanoma among non-Hispanic whites ages 25 to 64 have been falling since the early 1990s. But it had not been known whether death rates differed according to education level. The study focused on whites because they are at higher risk for developing melanoma – 5 times as likely as Hispanics and 20 times as likely as African-Americans. The researchers reviewed death certificates for non-Hispanic whites who died from melanoma in 26 states from 1993 to 2007. They found that the death rate fell almost 10% overall. But the declines occurred only in those who had more than a high school education. Level of education is frequently used to help indicate socioeconomic status. And previous studies have found that people with lower socioeconomic status are less likely to have regular skin checks by a dermatologist. Skin checks can find melanoma earlier, when it’s easier to treat.
Read more: Rates of Melanoma Deaths Differ by Education