Skin cancer deadlier for blacks: African Americans more likely to die from deadly melanoma

Black people are more likely to die from the most deadly type of skin cancer, scientists claim.

Although white people have a higher chance of developing skin cancer, patients with skin of colour are less likely to survive.

Patients of African-American descent were more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma once it had spread – making it harder to treat, researchers found.

Scientists found black patients are less likely to survive melanoma - the deadliest type of skin cancer, despite white people having a higher chance of developing it

But experts said this didn’t explain their findings, as they also had the worst survival rates for every stage of the disease.

Melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – can appear anywhere on the body. It often spreads to other organs in the body, making it more deadly.

Study author Dr Jeremy Bordeaux, from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, said: ‘Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, regardless of race.

‘Patients with skin of colour may believe they aren’t at risk, but that is not the case and when they do get skin cancer, it may be especially deadly.’

Researchers studied nearly 97,000 patients diagnosed with melanoma between 1992 and 2009.

Although white people had the highest incidence rates, they also had the best survival rates.

Hispanic patients were second most likely to survive the deadly disease, followed by Asian American’s, Native American’s and Pacific Islanders.

Dr Bordeaux said patients with skin of colour may not seek medical attention for irregular spots on their skin because they don’t believe they pose a risk.

Melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer - can appear anywhere on the body. It often spreads to other organs in the body, making it more deadly

And he claims there may be biologic differences in melanoma among patients with skin of colour, resulting in more aggressive disease in these patients.

But more research is necessary to determine why survival rates differ among different ethnic groups.

He said: ‘Because skin cancer can affect anyone, everyone should be proactive about skin cancer prevention and detection.

‘Don’t let this potentially deadly disease sneak up on you because you don’t think it can happen to you.’

Ultraviolet radiation exposure is the most preventable skin cancer risk factor, according to Dr Bordeaux.

He said everyone, regardless of skin colour, should take steps to protect themselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Dr Bordeaux added people with skin of colour are prone to skin cancer in areas that aren’t commonly exposed to the sun, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

He says people should be especially careful to examine hard-to-see areas when monitoring their skin for signs of skin cancer, asking a partner to help if necessary.

He added: ‘Skin cancer is most treatable when detected early, so everyone should regularly examine their skin for new or suspicious spots.

‘If you notice any spots that are different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.’

Source: The DailyMail

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