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Cutaneous melanoma in Caucasian New Zealanders: 1995−1999


  • R. C. W. Martin MB ChB, FRACS(provisional); E. Robinson MSc.

Dr Richard C. W. Martin, General Surgery Department, Auckland Hospital, Private Bag 92024, Auckland, New Zealand.


Background:  The aim of the present study was to evaluate the spectrum of cutaneous melanoma in Caucasian New Zealanders.

Method:  Data were obtained from the New Zealand Cancer Registry by way of a computerized search of the melanoma ICD-9 codes from 1995 to 1999. The final database used is for people identifying themselves as European. The denominator population were people stating their ethnicity as European in the 1996 New Zealand Census; all others were excluded. The Cancer Registry Act 1993 made reporting of cancer mandatory. Cancer data before July 1994 are of dubious accuracy.

Results:  There were 4966 cases of cutaneous melanoma reported in New Zealand between 1995 and 1999 by people identifying themselves as European. The trends and statistically relevant findings will be discussed.

Conclusion:  New Zealand continues to have one of the highest rates of melanoma in the world, with an increasing Breslow thickness of melanoma (P < 0.001) over the 5-year period. Men have a higher rate and deeper melanomas than women (P < 0.001). The incidence of melanoma appears to have reached a plateau over the review period. The far north of New Zealand (Whangarei and further north) had the highest rate of melanoma in New Zealand (59.1/100 000, age standardized) and the lowest rate is in Southland (23.5/100 000).