Which patient groups have the highest prevalence of oral malignant melanoma?

Updated: Jan 31, 2020
  • Author: Elizabeth Ann Bilodeau, DMD, MD, MSEd; Chief Editor: Jeff Burgess, DDS, MSD  more...
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The rarity of oral melanoma has led to ambiguity in defining sex predilections, as some studies have stated a decided male predilection while others have shown a slight female predilection. [7, 8] A roughly equal sex distribution of melanoma in the skin exists. In Japan, data suggest an equal or slight male predilection.

Although oral melanoma occurs over a broad age range, it is largely a disease of those older than 40 years, and it is rare in patients younger than 20 years. The average patient age at diagnosis is 56 years. Oral malignant melanoma is commonly diagnosed in men aged 51-60 years, whereas it is commonly diagnosed in women aged 61-70 years.

A separate categorization of "oral mucosal melanoma" in the cancer surveillance data reported in the United States and by the World Health Organization (WHO) would be useful in clarifying race and sex prevalence. Until that clarification occurs, statistics will continue to be derived from case reports and review articles that reflect the observation and opinion of those authors.

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