According to a new study using state and federal data from 2015-2018, residents of rural Michigan counties are significantly more likely to get melanoma – skin cancer – than urban residents.

Why skin cancer afflicts some Michigan counties more than others

Residents of rural Michigan counties are significantly more likely to get melanoma, or skin cancer, than urban residents, according to a study.

One reason: a lack of dermatologists in rural counties.

“Michigan has nearly double the number of dermatologists per capita practicing in urban counties,” the research team said.

Thirty-eight of the state’s 62 rural counties have no dermatologists, according to the study published in the journal Cancer Reports.

Nationally, melanoma is the third most common cancer in rural America for men and women combined, behind lung and colorectal cancers.

“Our results highlight the lack of care and resources, and demonstrate its link to patient outcomes,” the study says.

Lead researcher Richard Shellenberger, an internal medicine specialist at Trinity Health Ann Arbor Hospital in Ypsilanti, said: “The lack of doctors in rural areas was a big factor. It takes a special person to say, “I want to practice in the Upper Peninsula, I want to practice in the northern rural part of the Lower Peninsula.” » »

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