Cancer a Concern for Skin of All Shades
Findings from a recent study illustrate just how important it is for people of all skin colors to be aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer.
Although melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- is much more common among white populations, the lowest survival rates are often seen among black populations, in part, because of delayed diagnosis.
The study, which was published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology, found that at the time their melanoma was diagnosed, 26 percent of black patients had disease that had spread, sometimes to distant parts of their bodies, compared with 12 percent of white patients.
The delayed diagnosis of melanoma is also a growing concern among the white Hispanic population. The melanoma of 18 percent of white Hispanic patients had spread by the time the cancer was diagnosed.
Bring any change in your skin -- such as a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal, or an old growth (like a mole) that alters its shape or appearance -- to the attention of your doctor. If diagnosed and treated early, skin cancer has a 95 percent survival rate.
The best treatment is prevention, of course. No matter what your skin color, always protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays by wearing protective clothing and a high-quality sunblock.
Source: Hu S, Parmet Y, Allen G, et al. Disparity in melanoma: a trend analysis of melanoma incidence and stage at diagnosis among whites, Hispanics, and blacks in Florida. Arch Dermatol. 2009;145:1369-1374.