Scalp Melanoma: Frequently Overlooked by Patients and Family

Need for Early Diagnosis and Aggressive Care of Scalp Melanoma

A new study, published in the recent edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology supports the generally poor prognosis of scalp melanomas. Dr Xie and colleagues from Australia retrospectively examined the survival of 900 patients with head and neck melanomas.  237 patients (26.3 %) had scalp melanomas.

In total, scalp melanoma had double the risk for mortality compared to other head and neck melanomas.  Patients with scalp melanoma had a 5 year melanoma specific survival of 70 % compared to 88 % with other head and neck melanomas. 

The authors concluded that scalp melanomas have poorer survival than other melanomas. They tend to be thicker at diagnosis and tend to largely occur in males. These types of melanomas are easily overlooked. The authors advised that clinicians need to carefully examine the scalp for scalp melanoma and excise any lesions that are atypical. 



Xie et al. Impact of scalp location on survival in head and neck melanoma: A retrospective cohort study. J Am Acad Dermal 2017; 76: 494-8


Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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