acral melanoma DermNet

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Melanoma Awareness Interview with:
Neelam A. Vashi, MD
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Director, Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin
Director, Cosmetic and Laser Center
Boston University School of Medicine and
Daniela P.Sanchez BS

Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA 02118 What is the background for this study?

Response: Although melanoma most commonly affects Caucasians, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by greater morbidity and mortality rates when diagnosed. Poor prognosis in Hispanic patients is likely multifactorial, and may be secondary to lack of knowledge or misconceptions about melanoma risk, atypical presentation, impaired access to care, and language barriers, ultimately resulting in a delay in diagnosis. What are the main findings? 

Response: Our study found that awareness of the term melanoma and knowledge that it is a type of skin cancer was lowest among Hispanics, males, and those with a high school education or less. Hispanics were less likely to be aware of what melanoma was compared with Caucasians on a multivariate analysis. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Despite 20+ years of melanoma education, a racially and socioeconomically diverse real world patient population still has the same understanding of melanoma as it did in 1996. Our results support a need for better public educational programs, particularly geared towards minority populations What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Surveys focusing on important melanoma questions relevant to specific minorities should be explored in future studies. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Educational programs that are culturally relevant and include specific sections for skin of color have been demonstrated to better promote early melanoma detection in ethnic minorities and may help decrease the ethnic disparities in melanoma-related mortality. We have no financial disclosures.


Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Available online 5 May 2020

Racial and Ethnic disparities in Melanoma Awareness: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Daniela P.Sanchez BS, Mayra B.C. Maymone MD, DS,  Emily O.McLeanMD,
Kevin F.Kennedy MS, Debjani SahniMD, Eric A.Secemsky MD, Neelam A. VashiMD




The information on is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Last Updated on May 8, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD