South African Journal of Surgery
On-line version ISSN 2078-5151
Print version ISSN 0038-2361
AIM: To document the anatomical distribution of melanoma, extent of disease, results of treatment and survival among black patients in the north-eastern part of South Africa. METHODS: All available histological material was reviewed. All available addresses of patients were consulted to establish the status of patients treated in the drainage areas of, or referred to, Kalafong Hospital or Pretoria Academic Hospital retrospectively and prospectively for the 15-year period 1969 - 1983. RESULTS: Of the 185 patients with melanoma who were documented, 10 were eliminated for various reasons. Among the remaining 175 patients there were 128 documented deaths, 35 patients having died of melanoma within 1 year of presentation. Thirty patients survived for more than 3 years. Because of late presentation and the nature of the disease, malignant melanoma has a very poor prognosis in black patients in South Africa.