Nigerian Journal of Surgical Research

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Histopathological study of malignant melanoma in highlanders

AZ Mohammed, AN Manasseh, BM Mandong, ST Edino


Background:Malignant melanoma is a fatal skin cancer that is curable when detected and treated early. Recent reports indicate a rising incidence globally. This study aims at identifying the pattern of this neoplasm in Jos a geographical highland area.

Methods: The histology records of patients diagnosed as cases of malignant melanoma in the pathology laboratory of Jos University Teaching Hospital over a 10-year period (1989 - 1998) were retrospectively reviewed.

Results: Sixty-eight cases of melanoma were recorded comprising of 38 males and 30 females with a male to female ratio of 1.3:1 and a mean age of 50.4 years. Fifty-nine patients (82.4%) presented with foot lesions, six (8.8%) with groin lesions and 2 (2.9%) each with upper limb and conjuctival lesions. The vulva and oral mucosa were affected in 1.5% each of cases. The overwhelming majority (95.6%) were histologically nodular melanomas and 69.1% of the patients presented with stage V Clark's level of invasion.

Conclusion: The pattern of melanoma in Jos conforms to the usual pattern seen in Black and Asian populations. Health education may lead to a future decline in the morbidity and mortality associated with the condition.

(Nig J Surg Res2003; 5: 18 – 22)

Key words: Malignant melanoma
AJOL African Journals Online