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Why People of Color Need to Worry About Skin Cancer Too
While skin cancer is a health concern for many people, the odds are you are more likely to worry about it if you’re fair-skinned.
Those with darker complexions often feel that their skin tone protects them from the worst of the sun’s rays. However, the reality is that people of color are still at risk of skin cancer. Even worse, you’re more likely to have a negative outcome if you develop it.
Why is skin cancer a misunderstood risk for people of color? Let’s look closer at this condition and the ways you can better protect your skin.
What are the Kinds of Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the United States today. It’s caused by out-of-control growth of skin cells and is usually triggered by too much sun exposure. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types, causing more than a million cases per year. Both are also considered relatively simple to treat.
Although melanoma is the rarest form of skin cancer, it is also the most dangerous. It affects approximately 100,000 Americans a year and occurs when your skin’s pigment cells turn cancerous. Melanoma often penetrates deep into your skin, making it more likely to spread and compromise other parts of your body.
You can usually identify melanoma as strange-looking moles, though the earliest signs can be far more subtle. It often occurs in places that don’t see much sunlight, such as the palms, soles of your feet, and under your fingernails.
This makes melanoma hard to spot if you aren’t undergoing regular dermatology checkups. Once it’s spread and causing other symptoms, your chances of recovery start going down.
Melanoma Skin Cancer Risks for People of Color
Here’s the harsh reality. Those with darker skin are more likely to develop melanoma than other forms of skin cancer, and when they do, it’s less likely to become diagnosed until a later stage. This puts people of color at a greater risk of dying from the condition, even if they have a lower chance of developing it in the first place.
So, what can you do to lower your risk? People of color need to monitor their skin, both at home and by making regular appointments with a dermatologist. Look for dark spots that are irregularly shaped or seem to be growing, especially ones that occur under your nails. It’s also best to pay attention to any sores that are slow to heal or seem to come back frequently.
And remember, prevention is critical for protecting your skin. Wear sunscreen and layer up when you go outdoors to lower your risk.
Address Skin Cancer Concerns at Brentwood Dermatology
If you think you’re developing the signs of skin cancer, you must seek out professional treatment right away. At Brentwood Dermatology, we offer assessments and Mohs surgical procedures for skin cancer to treat the condition before it can spread and cause serious health concerns.
Our Brentwood, Tennessee location has been treating patients since 1983, and we offer personalized care for all types of skincare problems, from the cancerous to the cosmetic.
Please contact us today to learn how our services can meet your skincare needs. You can call (615) 436-8682 to book your first appointment.