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Has mortality from malignant melanoma stopped rising in Spain? Analysis of trends between 1975 and 2001


  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

Aurelio Cayuela.


Background  There have been suggestions that mortality from cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) is starting to level off in the European Union.

Objectives  To analyse changes in CMM mortality trends in Spain during 1975–2001 using joinpoint regression models.

Methods  Mortality data were obtained from the National Statistics Institute. For each gender, age group-specific and standardized (overall and truncated) rates were calculated by the direct method (using the world standard population). The joinpoint analysis was used to identify the best-fitting points where a statistically significant change in the trend occurred.

Results  In women, there was a marked increase from 1975 to 1994 in age-adjusted (overall and truncated) CMM mortality rates [estimated annual percentage change (EAPC) 6·6% and 7·0%, respectively; P < 0·05], followed by a levelling off (EAPC − 0·3% and − 1·3%, respectively; not significant). In men, age-adjusted (35–64 years) mortality rates increased steadily from 1975 to 1991 (EAPC 9·1%, P < 0·05) and then levelled off.

Conclusions  We confirmed that CMM mortality rates in Spain rose dramatically from the mid-1970s to the beginning of the 1990s, but we also found that mortality rates are now levelling off in middle-aged adults (35–64 years), following a similar tendency to that observed in other countries.