Skin Cancer in Skin of Color

Skin cancer in skin of color

Hugh M. Gloster, Jr. MD, a, and Kenneth Neal MDa

aFrom the Department of Dermatology, University of Cincinnati, School of Medicine Cincinnati, Ohio.

Skin cancer is less common in persons with skin of color than in light-skinned Caucasians but is often associated with greater morbidity and mortality.

Thus, it is crucial that physicians become familiar with skin cancer in persons of color so as to maximize the likelihood of early detection of these tumors. In dark-skinned ethnic groups, squamous cell carcinoma is most common; squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma usually occur on nonsun-exposed sites; and ultraviolet radiation is not an important etiologic factor for skin cancer with the exception of basal cell carcinoma.

Races of intermediate pigmentation, such as Hispanics and Asians, share epidemiologic and clinical features of dark-skinned ethnic groups and Caucasians. Skin cancers pose a significant risk in skin of color and clinicians should focus on preventive measures in these groups such as regular skin exams, self-examination, public education, and screening programs.

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Volume 55, Issue 5 , November 2006, Pages 741-760 doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2005.08.063

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