Unfortunately, one commonly believed myth is that only lighter skinned people get skin cancer and melanoma. While fair skinned individuals may be more pre-disposed to skin cancer, that doesn’t mean that those with darker skin, especially those who’ve had considerable unprotected sun exposure during their lifetime, cannot develop it, too.
A recent study suggests that this is because skin cancer awareness among certain ethnic groups is sub-par due to this commonly held false belief.
In a recent article on Reuters called “ Skin Cancer Awareness, Low Among Minorities”, the author looks at a study by researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. The summary of the study was that Caucasians tended to identify melanoma characteristics better than African American and Hispanic minorities. The conclusion is that there is a large gap in patient knowledge about melanoma and skin cancer.
Statistically 1 in 5 Hispanic, Black and/or Asian individuals out of every 100,000 are diagnosed with melanoma, compared to 20 out of every 100,00 Caucasian women and 32 per 100,000 Caucasian men. The takeaway is that melanoma can develop in any skin type and race.
The only way to detect skin cancers is by self-screening and total body skin examinations by a doctor, such as Dr. Ronald Savin of the Savin Center in New Haven.
For identifying skin cancer, remember ABCDE…
A: Asymmetry- the halves of a mole or growth don’t match
B: Border-the edges may be scalloped, notched or jagged
C: Color- a number of different shades of tan, brown or black. Melanoma can also be red or blue.
D: Diameter- larger than ¼ inch or pencil eraser
E: Evolving- any change in size, shape color, itching, crusting, or bleeding
The three most important things to do is to protect yourself from skin cancer are as follows:
– Protect yourself from the sun – reduce your exposure and wear sunscreen
– Perform regular skin cancer self examinations
– Schedule annual skin cancer screenings at The Savin Center
The more proactive you are, the better your chance of catching and treating skin cancer early. For more information, you can visit the Skin Cancer Foundation here: http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/early-detection/step-by-step-self-examination
At The Savin Center, our experienced team are experts in skin cancer prevention and treatment. Schedule your screening today by calling 203-865-6143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.