Melanoma in African-Americans: Trends in biological behavior and clinical characteristics over two decades

Charles F. Bellows, Peter C Belafsky, Ilana S. Fortgang, Derrich J. Beech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: The incidence of melanoma in the United States is increasing. Data on this disease in African-Americans is sparse. Methods: Chart review of patients diagnozed with melanoma from 1975 to 1.997 at Charity Hospital New Orleans (CHNO). Age, gender, anatomic distribution, histology, presenting stage, survival, and race were evaluated. Results: Forty-four of 198 patients were African-American, of whom the majority developed cutaneous melanoma on the acral surface of the foot. African-American males were four times more likely to present with a cutaneous lesion than were African-American females. The median survival rime for African-American with cutaneous lesions was 45 months, compared to 135 months for caucasians who were 3.6 times more likely to present with early disease (P < 0.05). TNM stage ar presentation, and ulceration were significant, independent factors associated with a worse outcome in African-Americans. Conclusion: Overall survival rime for African-Americans with cutaneous melanoma is significantly shorter than for caucasians with this disease. This trend may be attributable to the fact that African-Americans present with advanced disease. An increased level of awareness among both patients and health-care providers is necessary to identify African-Americans with melanoma ar earlier stages of disease and to improve survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Melanoma
  • Race
  • Stage at presentation
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Melanoma in African-Americans: Trends in biological behavior and clinical characteristics over two decades'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this