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November 1991

Malignant Melanoma in Black Americans: A Trend Toward Improved Survival

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery (Drs Crowley and Seigler), Biostatistics (Mr Dodge), and Pathology (Dr Vollmer), Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Surg. 1991;126(11):1359-1365. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410350049008

• A search of patients seen at the Duke University Melanoma Clinic (Durham, NC) identified 79 black patients. Five- and 10-year survival was 35% and 26%, respectively. Patients presenting in the recent decade had less advanced disease, resulting in an improved 5-year survival of 49%. Five-year survival for white patients was 74%. Black patients had more negative prognostic indicators when compared with white patients. In a multivariate analysis, however, race was not a prognostic indicator, suggesting melanoma is not inherently more aggressive in black patients. The trend during the past decade has been for black patients to present with less advanced disease, with improved survival. This may be related to better appreciation of the disease by patients and physicians alike. Continued emphasis on education and early diagnosis may result in further improvement for black patients with melanoma.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:1359-1365)