Screening Won’t Solve Racial Disparities in Melanoma Outcomes, Study Suggests

Source: Times Observer, July 2023

PITTSBURGH — Increased skin cancer screening in individuals with skin of color is not sufficient to address racial disparities in melanoma survival rates, according to a new JAMA Dermatology study by UPMC and University of Pittsburgh researchers.

Melanoma causes the most deaths of any skin cancer, but is usually treatable if caught early. Although the disease is most common in white individuals, survival odds are worse in people with darker skin tones.

“In this study, we asked whether screening could address this disparity by helping detect melanoma early,” said senior author Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., dermatologist at UPMC and professor of dermatology at the Pitt School of Medicine. “Our findings suggest that regular skin checks are not the answer, but that doesn’t mean that we should be offering less care or that our work is done. We need to investigate other approaches to improve outcomes for melanoma in patients with skin of color.”