Help Research Skin Cancer in African Americans
When my children were younger, I would slather them in sunscreen before taking them outside to play. My husband told me that I didn’t need to worry about sunscreen because they had inherited melanin from him, and that melanin would protect them from the sun naturally. I love and trust my husband, but before eliminating sunscreen I decided to seek a second opinion—I called his Momma! She informed me that she herself has been sunburnt, and told me that I should keep on protecting our babies from harmful UV rays.
The misconception that being brown-skinned protects you from skin cancer is very common, especially among Black Americans. But the fact is that people with brown skin can get sunburn. And if the skin burns, it can also get skin cancer.
A new study aims to show that people of color react differently to the sun than white people. Proving that all skin types are not the same, will be important for determining the laser and skin treatment used for Black Americans, and other people of color. The study is sponsored by the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, ethnicity is a factor in the way skin cancer presents itself. While it is uncommon in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is frequently fatal.
Skin Cancer Facts – Did You Know?
- Among people of color, melanoma is a higher risk for children than adults: 6.5 percent of pediatric melanomas occur in non-Caucasians. (From skincancer.org)
- According to the Skin Cancer Foundation: Among African Americans and others of African descent, Asians, Hawaiians, and Native Americans, melanomas are most likely to appear in the mouth, or in the form of acral lentiginous melanoma – melanomas on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and under the nails. Evidence suggests the trunk and legs as the most likely areas affected among fair-skinned Hispanics and the feet are the most common location in dark-skinned Hispanics.
- Bob Marley, famous reggae musician, died of skin cancer at the age of 36.
For more information about common misconceptions regarding African-Americans and skin cancer, visit the Huffington Post to read this piece:
Image credit: Carnival King 08