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It’s long been a myth that African-Americans can soak up all the sun they want and not have to worry about skin cancer. The truth is that people with darker complexions need to protect themselves from those UV rays just as much as people with lighter skin.

Here’s some info on skin cancer in African-Americans from

Although the rates of occurrence of various types of skin cancer are lower in African Americans, they are not zero. African-Americans can develop skin cancer, and when they do, the outcome is often more serious than it is for other Americans.

One reason why the outcome of skin cancer is often poorer in African-Americans is that the disease is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage, when treatment is more difficult. Also, the type of melanoma most frequently found in African Americans is acral lentiginous melanoma, which is more dangerous than the types of melanoma that predominate in white Americans.

Shocking isn’t it? Here’s some tips on how to spot skin cancer:

Among African Americans, melanomas occur mainly on body sites that are not pigmented, such as the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and the skin beneath the nails. Other sites at which melanomas occur relatively often in African Americans are the mucous membranes of the mouth, nasal passages, and genitals.

Like people of other heritages, African Americans should develop an awareness of the moles on their bodies and be alert for new or changing moles. In addition, African Americans should examine their fingernails and toenails for suspicious changes, which may include brown or black colored stripes under the nail or a spot that extends beyond the edge of the nail. Anyone who notices such changes should see a doctor promptly because they may be signs of melanoma. Melanoma that is detected and treated early can usually be cured.

Go get that sunblock and a stylish hat and protect yourself this summer! For more info on skin cancer among African-Americans click here.

Click here for 10 things you shouldn’t tell your doctor!

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