Skin Cancer and Darker Skin Tones

There is a common myth that those with darker skin tones don’t need to worry about skin damage, however, this is far from true! The sun’s harmful UV rays reach all skin types and tones, meaning anyone who is in the sun without sun protection is at risk. This is a dangerous belief that has led to melanoma diagnoses being more prevalent among Hispanic and black individuals. Here are a few facts you should know about skin cancer and darker skin tones:

Skin cancer can develop in unnoticeable locations

In white patients, skin cancer typically develops in sun exposed areas such as the arms, legs, neck, and scalp. However, for those with darker skin tones, skin cancer more commonly occurs in unexposed areas. This includes the palms, soles of the feet, under the nails, and other hidden areas. If you have darker skin, it’s important to check these places as well!

Annual skin checks can cut melanoma deaths in half

The misconception that those with darker skin tones are not at risk of skin cancer often delays a professional diagnosis, leading to more advanced melanoma cases. Melanoma has a very high cure rate when caught early, making regular skin checks very important. Monthly self-examinations are recommended as well as an annual skin check from a professional.

Scarred areas can turn into skin cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the majority of skin cancer diagnoses among African-Americans turn out to be squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer has shown to develop in areas of preexisting inflammation or other skin condition. It is important to keep an eye on these areas to ensure that skin cancer is not developing.

Although these facts might sound scary, skin cancer is preventable! Make sure you wear the appropriate sun screen whenever you’re outside, even on cloudy days. You should also seek shade or limit your sun exposure when the sun is the strongest, from 10am to 4pm. For more information on how you can prevent skin cancer, contact our office today!

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