Objective: To investigate the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on Breslow thickness, disease-free survival, and overall survival in patients with stage I-II primary cutaneous melanoma (PCM).
Patients and methods: The study consists of all consecutive patients who were diagnosed as having PCM and were treated and followed up at our hospital between November 1, 1998, and July 31, 2009. Pathologic and sociodemographic characteristics of the patients were obtained. We categorized SES into 3 levels: low (manual employees and skilled/unskilled workers, including farmers, with primary education level), middle (nonmanual employees and clerks with middle education level), and high (professionals, executives, administrators, and entrepreneurs with tertiary education).
Results: A total of 1443 consecutive patients were evaluated. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, sex (female vs male: odds ratio [OR], 1.37; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08-1.75), SES (high vs middle: OR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.96-1.69; high vs low: OR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.26-2.38), age (<60 vs ≥60 years: OR, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.03-1.78), and family context (single vs living with relatives: OR, 1.37; 95% CI, 0.97-1.94) were the strongest correlates of Breslow thickness. Compared with high SES, the risk of melanoma-related death, adjusted for age and sex, was 7 times higher (hazard ratio, 7.44; 95% CI, 3.27-16.93) and almost 2 times higher (hazard ratio, 1.88; 95% CI, 1.04-3.39) in patients with low SES living alone or living with relatives, respectively.
Conclusion: In patients with PCM, low SES is associated with thicker melanoma and a poorer clinical outcome.