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Is it more common in people of color to have melanoma?

Forums Caregiver Community Is it more common in people of color to have melanoma?

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    Carmelo Labadie
      I heard that Melanoma does not discriminate. Although it is less common in people of color, when it does occur there can be unique challenges to diagnosis, treatment, and patient outcomes. When they have melanoma, it may serious?
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        tim brown
          20 times less likely to get melanoma, so it does ‘discriminate’ in one sense
            Perhaps the post I wrote in 2013 may interest you, Carmelo:

            Melanoma…a disease without discrimination!!!

            SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2013
            Melanoma…a disease without discrimination!!!

            Just a few days ago, Bob Marley, Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician, would have had his 68th birthday…had he not died from metastatic melanoma at the age of 36, having been diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 32. Ironic that a man who spent a good deal of his life and music fighting against prejudice and oppression should die from a disease with absolutely no sense of discrimination. Bet you didn’t know melanoma rolled like that did you? Well, it does…

            Melanoma has no perfect prejudices. Despite the 76,250 people diagnosed and the 9,180 deaths it caused in the United States in 2012, melanoma has no allegiance to country or continent. Across the globe, 160,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed, leading to 48,000 deaths, each year.

            Melanoma affects men more than women. True….but melanoma found me and a zillion other women I could name! Men develop melanoma primaries most often on their back, while women are more likely to find a lesion on their legs. Mine was on my back, Bob’s was on a toe.

            Melanoma is more frequent in people with fair complexions, blue/green eyes and blond or red hair. True….but Bob didn’t really fit that description now did he??

            Melanoma affects mostly older people, with the average age of diagnosis being 61. I’m not 60. Neither was Bob. Neither were lots of folks. In fact, melanoma is the most common cause of cancer in people between 25 and 29 years of age.

            Melanoma is associated with skin exposed to damage from the sun. There is a much greater risk of developing melanoma if you have spent a lot of time in the sun or tanning beds. Tanning bed use before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 75%. Yet, melanoma can occur initially in the bowel, eye, other internal organs, and under big toes. Not a lot of sun exposure going on in those places now is there????

            Certainly, melanoma likes some groups. It likes some people who already have nevi (moles) of certain types and relatives of folks who had melanoma. But basically, it loves just about everybody.

            So….what is one to do to arm against such a color blind, prejudice free killer?

            KNOW YOUR SKIN and mind your A, B, C, D, E’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
            See a dermatologist if you have a mole, lump, or lesion that shows:

            Asymmetry: One side that doesn’t look the same as the other side.

            Borders: Edges of the “spot” are irregular with scallops or notches.

            Color: The color of the “spot” has changed from what it once was….or, there are different colors within the lesion. And, because melanoma is all about equal opportunity….the colors may include tan, brown, white, red, or even blue….not just your basic black.

            Diameter: Some data indicates that any lesion larger than 6mm in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser) is suspect. However, given the fact that melanoma likes things in every size…if the diameter of any lesion is increasing…even if smaller than 6mm…off to the derm you go.

            Evolution: A mole or spot that keeps changing….in size, shape, color, elevation. Or, one that gains new symptoms…like bleeding, itching or crusting.

            If you think you have any lesion matching anything described here….RUN to the dermatologist for an evaluation. Early removal of questionable lesions is your best insurance against turning into me….or Bob. Data currently available suggest a greater than 99% long term survival for patients with melanoma in situ and greater than 90% long term survival for patients with lesions less than 1mm in depth whose lesions were removed early.

            Happy Birthday, Bob! “One love! One heart! Let’s get together [against melanoma] and feel all right!” – c

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