Tuesday, July 11, 2023

New study finds skin cancer is more deadly in black men, Washington Post story declares

Melanoma is more deadly in black men, who may get skin cancer in unexpected places such as nails and feet, a new study says.

According to a story today by Andrea Atkins in The Washington Post, the study of 105,000 cases show black men are "26 percent more likely to die of the disease" — despite the fact that melanoma is "far more common in white men."

It has long been known, not incidentally, that men have a higher risk of being diagnosed and succumbing to the disease than women do.

Dr. Ali Hendi
The Post story quotes Dr. Ali Hendi, a specialist in skin cancer surgery in Chevy Chase, Md., who didn't participate in the study, as saying, "I think [the findings are] significant. This study doesn't give us the answer as to why, but it sheds light on the numbers." 

Atkins' article notes that the study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, found that:

• "Among black men with melanoma, 48.6 percent at diagnosed at late stages of the disease, when it is harder to treat, compared with 21.1 percent among white men."

• "The data showed that 50.7 of black men with melanoma have it on their lower extremities. Fewer than 10 percent of white men with the disease have it on their lower extremities."

• "Melanoma in black men is often found in areas not typically exposed to the sun, such as the soles of the feet, toes, toenails, fingers, fingernail beds, and palms."

The Post piece also quotes Dr. Jeremy Brauer, clinical associate professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, who was not connected with the study, as saying that physicians are often trained to identify cancers on white skin and may not know how the disease shows up differently in different races. "This disproportionate and unfortunate rate of death means we have to try to be much more preventative," he said. 

More information about studies of diseases can be found in Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer, a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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