Breaking the Myth: Yes, Black People Get Skin Cancer


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(AURN News) – As Skin Cancer Awareness Month begins, health organizations are sending an important reminder: Although less common, people of color are at risk and must stay vigilant about protection and early detection.

“Having darker skin lowers the risk of melanoma at the more common sites, like the legs, back and chest, but anyone can develop it on areas like the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and under the nails,” the American Cancer Society (ACS) states. “In fact, melanomas found in these areas account for more than half of all melanomas in African American people but fewer than 1 in 10 melanomas in White people.”

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer nationwide, according to the ACS. However, Black people are about three times more likely than white people to die within five years of diagnosis, often due to later-stage detection. Part of the problem, experts say, is that dermatologists can have more difficulty identifying concerning lesions on darker skin tones. The Association of American Medical Colleges is pushing for more diverse training images and educational materials to help providers make accurate evaluations.

Physicians encourage people of color to perform regular self-exams, especially on areas like hands, feet soles, and nail beds where melanomas more frequently appear in this population. Annual check-ups with a dermatologist are also advised.

Click play to listen to the AURN News report from Jamie Jackson:

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