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Black Men More Likely To Die of Melanoma, study shows

Black Men More Likely To Die of Melanoma, study shows

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that starts in the melanocytes, which are the cells that control your skin’s pigment. And while it’s less common than other skin cancers, it’s also the most dangerous.

A recent study that compared different races showed that Black men had a higher chance of melanoma showing up in unexpected places, and they also had a higher chance of dying from the disease.

Board-certified dermatologist Ali Hendi, MD, and our team of skin cancer specialists in Chevy Chase, Maryland, specialize in advanced techniques to detect and treat melanoma.

In this blog, we take a closer look at the findings put out by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (JAAD) and also discuss how you can stay on top of your risks for skin cancer.

What the study showed

There’s only been limited amounts of research on racial differences involving melanoma, which makes the JAAD melanoma study that much more important. Researchers analyzed data in the National Cancer Database, looking at invasive melanoma cases in men of numerous backgrounds: Asian, Black, Hispanic, Native American, and White.

The findings showed that Black men are more likely to develop melanoma in unexpected areas, such as the toenails, fingernail beds, and bottoms of the feet. Researchers also determined that when Black men were diagnosed with melanoma, they had a higher chance of the disease being in its later stages — stages 3 and 4 – when it’s harder to treat.

Strikingly, the melanoma survival rates were highest for White men (75.1%) and lowest for Black men (51.7%). And, Black individuals diagnosed with the disease were 26% more likely to die from it than their White counterparts. One reason for this could be that since Melanoma manifests in unexpected areas more often in Black men, this could cause the condition to go unnoticed in its early stages, which could delay diagnosis and treatment.

What to do about the findings 

If you’re Black and male, or if you have an increased risk of developing skin cancer, you might benefit from routine skin cancer surveillance. With these noninvasive exams, Dr. Hendi performs a head-to-toe skin inspection that includes difficult-to-see areas.

You should also perform skin checks on your own periodically, making sure to check every area of your body, including your nails and the soles of your feet. Try to be as thorough as possible, and use a mirror if you need to.

If you notice signs of melanoma — such as a rapidly changing, unusually colored, or jagged mole, or a dark dot under a nail —  schedule a skin exam. With an early diagnosis, melanoma has a much higher survival rate

To learn about your melanoma risk factors or to get assessed for the disease, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.

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