The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

African-Americans Have a LOWER Risk for Skin Cancer But Also a LOWER Survival Rate -- What's Up With That?


Most of us already know that skin cancer, also known as melanoma, is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Every hour, one person in the U.S. dies from melanoma. African-Americans have a lower risk of getting skin cancer, but they also have a higher risk of dying from it. The survival rate for African Americans is 73 percent compared to 91 percent for whites. Why is this?

The Survival rate among African-Americans is lower because...
  • Many Blacks feel that because their skin is darker they are at less risk.
  • More cases of melanoma among Blacks are in advanced stages by the time they are diagnosed.
  • More cases of melanoma among Blacks occur in unprotected areas of the body.
  • Skin cancer on African-Americans often looks different than skin cancer on white people.

Here's the good news -- skin cancer is highly treatable

Here's the simple truth: skin cancer is highly treatable, so there is no reason why African-Americans can't protect themselves and increase their chances of survival if they do get skin cancer. The key is to take the proper action to ensure that extra care is taken to prevent skin cancer in the first place, learn how to recognize skin cancer, and don't wait -- go to the doctor immediately if any suspected signs of skin cancer appear.

Skin cancer in African-American often shows up in different areas of the body than for white people, such as the bottom of the feet, and on the buttocks, hip, and legs. These are areas that African-Americans need to be particularly aware of.

Good advice for EVERYONE
  • Limit exposure to the sun
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Use sunscreen when outdoors
  • Watch for any spots that look suspicious or sores that don't heal
  • Don't wait -- go to the doctor immediately is any signs of skin cancer appear

The key to skin cancer survival is early detection and treatment -- don't wait!
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.



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