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Survival Rates of Melanoma Lowest Among Men with Skin of Color


Men have a lower overall survival rate than women when diagnosed with melanoma.

A recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology said that men with melanoma are more likely to die than women with melanoma, and that men with skin of color are at even greater risk.1 It is unclear why men have worse survival rates than women, and researcher Ashley Wysong, MD, FAAD, founding chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, emphasized a need for more research on the subject.

Andrey Popov/AdobeStock

Andrey Popov/AdobeStock

The analysis compared melanoma diagnosis data from the National Cancer Database from 2004 to 2018 of 200,000 White, Black, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Hispanic men. White and Native American/Alaskan Native men most often developed melanoma on their trunk, while Black, Asian, and Hispanic men more often developed melanoma on their lower extremities, particularly in areas without sun exposure.

"We know that men may be less likely to seek medical care than women, so they can be diagnosed with melanoma at later stages,” said Wysong in a press release.“ However, even after accounting for later stages at diagnosis, men still have worse overall survival rates than women with melanoma, so we suspect that there are some unmeasured social, genetic, tumor-specific and potentially biological factors at play, such as hormones and the way the immune system responds to melanoma tumors."

Melanoma was more likely to be in an advanced stage when diagnosed among Black, Asian, and Hispanic men, so treatment was limited. Wysong added that in darker skin, melanoma may be mistaken for other skin conditions, which can lead to a delay in a correct diagnosis and treatment.

“The location of the first diagnosed melanoma can play a role in this issue,” said Wysong in the press release. “Many patients have spots evaluated by dermatologists because somebody else has pointed out a spot to them. Melanoma in areas that do not have sun exposure can be more difficult for both patients and their loved ones to see, which can lead to a delayed diagnosis.”

Survival rates for men with melanoma were highest for White men (75%), with American Indian/Alaskan Native men next (69%), followed by Asian men (68%), Hispanic men (66%), and Black men (52%).


  1. Largest study on racial differences in men with melanoma shows men with skin of color have lowest survival rates. News release. American Academy of Dermatology. July 11, 2023. Accessed July 18, 2023. https://www.aad.org/news/melanoma-study-men-skin-of-color-lowest-survival-rates
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