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February 1980

Melanoma in Africans-Reply

Author Affiliations

Aba, Nigeria

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(2):159-160. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640260035007

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I find that the problem throughout Dr Rampen's letter is with the meaning and use of the word "common." Dr Rampen's records (112 cases in five years) confirm my stand that melanoma is not a common skin condition among Africans. The common cold, by Dr Rampen's reasoning, should top the list of medical diseases in the literature, but does it? Furthermore, my experience at Harvard, Cambridge, Mass, as a resident in dermatology (1969 to 1972), where we used to compile exhaustive bibliographies on dermatologic conditions, does not support the view that the list of references on melanoma in Africans is tedious by world standards. Squamous cell carcinoma cannot possibly be "very common," and I think that Dr Rampen meant that basal cell carcinoma is common in African albinos.

Dr Rampen draws our attention to his work, and we are pleased, but I do not see what the urban location of

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