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February 1980

Melanoma in Africans

Author Affiliations

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Arch Dermatol. 1980;116(2):159. doi:10.1001/archderm.1980.01640260035006

To the Editor.—  The casuistic report of Dr Onwukwe in the May Archives (115:626, 1979) prompts me to the following comments. Malignant melanoma is common in the African and the list of references is tedious. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is also very common. On the other hand, basal cell carcinoma is extremely rare in the pigmented African, but is not uncommon in African albinos. Conclusions about sex and site distributions cannot be generated from a series of six cases. From 1967 through 1972, 112 diagnoses of cutaneous melanoma were recorded by the Malawi Cancer Registry,1 showing a male:female ratio of 1:1.4. Since most histologic diagnoses are made in urban areas with a population distribution exhibiting an adult male preponderance, the female predominance in the Malawi material appears genuine.With regard to the patient with subungual melanoma and the peculiar dermatosis over the anterior, lower part of the

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