Dr. Derrick Phillips, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson, says that while melanoma skin cancer is uncommon in Black skin, when it does occur, it often affects sites that are not exposed to the sun, such as the soles of feet, palms or beneath nails. In patients with dark skin, skin cancer often takes longer to be diagnosed, and late-stage diagnosis can mean a worse prognosis. A study cited by the Skin Cancer Foundation found the five-year survival rate for melanoma among Black patients is 67% vs 92% for white patients. The late diagnosis is because people do not routinely check the aforementioned places on the body, says Dr. Phillips. “People with skin of colour often check sun-exposed sites because of this misunderstanding of risk. A more powerful message is to encourage people of colour to examine the sites I’ve mentioned.” It’s also important to get a skin check at least once a year by a dermatologist who is trained at spotting early signs of skin cancer across skin tones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *