Skin Cancer Does Occur in Dark-Skinned People
Dark skin contains more melanin (the pigment that gives skin its color) than white skin. It provides extra protection for dark-skinned people against harmful ultra-violet rays that can cause damage to the skin and lead to skin cancer. It is a fact that white Caucasians are many times more likely to develop melanoma than dark skinned people. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that melanoma strikes 1 in 50 white people and 1 in 1,000 African Americans. While this is true, dark-skinned individuals are still susceptible.
Acral Lentiginous Melanoma (ALM)
Acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is an aggressive type of skin cancer that disproportionately afflicts African Americans and other dark skinned people. Because dark-skinned people tend to not worry about getting skin cancer, they may disregard a spot that shows up on their skin, and are not likely go to see a dermatologist until it advances to a dangerous stage. When caught early, treatment is very effective. However, dark-skinned people tend to be diagnosed at a more advanced stage, and then patients often face a bleaker outcome.
Roswell Dermatologist, Dr. Marcus Goodman, is well aware of the risk African Americans face by not paying closer attention to their skin. He is a skin cancer specialist who has seen numerous cases of skin cancer in black patients. They generally get to him after the cancer has progressed to dangerous stages because they are often dismissed by their general physicians who don’t generally look for signs of skin cancer in dark-skinned patients.
No matter what your skin color or type, Dr. Goodman encourages everyone to have an annual full body screen. With skin cancer on the rise, no one is safe and everyone should take the risk seriously. Goodman Dermatology in Roswell, GA sees patients from all over the Atlanta Metro area. He urges you to call and make an appointment now. Exams are quick and painless and can be life-saving!
Recent Announcement From the US Surgeon General
In July 2014, the US Surgeon General has announced that skin cancer is a major public health problem. He has initiated a call to action program to prevent skin cancer which focuses on educating the public about the danger of skin cancer which potentially puts hundreds of thousands of Americans at risk. He is asking for federal, state, tribal, local, and territorial governments; community, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations; and individual and families to all be partners in this effort.
The call to action presents 5 strategic goals to support skin cancer prevention:
1. Increase sun protected areas in outdoor settings
2. Help inform individuals about making healthy choices about protecting their skin
3. Promote policies that advance the national goal of preventing skin cancer
4. Reduce harms from indoor tanning
5. Strengthen research, surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation related to skin cancer prevention.
To read more about skin cancer in dark-skinned people reported by the Washington Post click here.
To read more about the US Surgeon General announcement click here.