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Practice Gaps
July 2012

Barriers in Melanoma Detection in Ethnic Minorities: Comment on Anatomic Distribution of Malignant Melanoma on the Non-Hispanic Black Patient, 1998-2007

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois.

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(7):801-802. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2012.910

Compared with non-Hispanic white patients, Hispanic and black patients have been disproportionately affected by a later stage at melanoma diagnosis and higher melanoma-related mortality. By tackling a population-based study, Myles et al1 contribute to our knowledge of the clinical presentation of melanoma in the black population. They suggest the gap is due to some inherent difficulty with melanoma detection in these patients: (1) atypical, non–sun-exposed locations (eg, acral), (2) unclear etiology, and (3) patient and physician misperception of risk. As they conclude, “By increasing knowledge about the burden of this disease within the black population, our findings can be used to improve the early detection of melanoma by both the patient and the provider.” To better address the gap, we must explore some key issues in knowledge, patient perception, and provider education.

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