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Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia
On-line version ISSN 1806-4841
MAIA, Marcus; RUSSO, Carla; FERRARI, Nelson and RIBEIRO, Manoel Carlos S. de A.. Acral lentiginous melanoma: a challenge for early diagnosis. An. Bras. Dermatol. [online]. 2003, vol.78, n.5, pp. 553-560. ISSN 1806-4841. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0365-05962003000500004.
BACKGROUND: The characteristics of acral lentiginous melanoma diagnosed in Brazil have been subject to few studies. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the characteristics of acral lentiginous melanoma diagnosed at the Melanoma Unit of Santa Casa Hospital of Sao Paulo, to compare them with the other melanoma subtypes and to verify whether the possible differences between them are important in the determination of the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. METHOD: Patients were divided into acral lentiginous melanoma and non-acral lentiginous melanoma groups and compared in reference to sex, color, age, depth and level of invasion of the primary lesion, stage, time between perceiving the tumor and seeking medical assistance. RESULTS: The cases of acral lentiginous melanoma were significantly more frequent among non-whites and the elderly, with the primary lesion, on average deeper and ulcerated, without significant differences in the sex, stage or the time elapsed between noticing the neoplasia and seeking the physician. CONCLUSIONS: Acral lentiginous melanoma diagnosed at the Melanoma Unit of Santa Casa Hospital of Sao Paulo, occurred mainly: in patients: who had not been advised about skin cancer (non-whites) and patients who are elderly and therefore, theoretically, could be less liable to notice the onset of the disease. The majority also presented deeper and ulcerated lesions and consequently with a higher risk of metastasis. This kind of cancer is unknown to the public in general and even to a large number of physicians.
Keywords : diagnosis; Melanoma.