The “hidden” melanoma

Source: Bay State Banner, May 2023

The first Monday in May is Melanoma Day. In all probability, most people of color completely ignored it. That’s understandable. Melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is more common in Whites. For instance, the rate of new cases in White men is 37.9 per 100,000 men versus 1.0 per 100,000 men in Blacks.

Melanoma should not be ignored, however. It is the fifth most common cancer in this country. According to the National Cancer Institute, it is estimated that in 2023, it will account for 97,610 new cases and 7,990 deaths.

But Black people do not escape the disease altogether. Actually, a rare form of melanoma is more prevalent in Blacks. Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) accounts for roughly eight percent of all melanomas, but is the most common melanoma in dark-skinned people. It represents up to 70 percent of melanomas in Black people and up to 46 percent in Asians, according to the NCI.