Numerous studies on the epidemiology of cutaneous melanoma (CM) have been reported for Caucasians, but rarely for Asian populations including Korea. The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiology of CM and melanoma in situ (MIS) in the Korean population. We investigated a nationally representative sample cohort of over one million Koreans for patients diagnosed with CM and MIS. Annual and overall incidence rates, as well as the survival rate of CM during the study period (2004-2013), were estimated. Demographic factors associated with survival rates and other clinical features of CM and MIS were evaluated and compared with an age-matched, sex-matched, and income level-matched control group. The overall incidence was 1.09 (95% confidence interval, 0.87-1.41) per 100 000 person-years, which was low compared with Caucasians. The incidence rate had increased by 1.07-fold yearly during the 10-year follow-up period (P < 0.001). Five-year and 10-year survival rates of the melanoma patient group were 85.5 and 66.2%, respectively, and were also lower than those of the Caucasian population. The most frequently involved site was the lower limb, followed by the head and neck. Old age and diabetes were associated with an increased risk of melanoma-specific death, whereas surgical excision was a factor associated with decreased overall and melanoma-specific death rates irrespective of the stage of CM. Our data provide a better understanding of the characteristics of CM, especially in the Korean population, and warrant further study into the association between CM and other comorbid conditions.
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