Non-white residents face skin issues too

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While people of color appear less likely to develop skin conditions such as foot ulcers and cancers, they are far from immune, experts insist. A new study provides recommendations for the prevention and early detection of skin cancer in people of color based on a review of available data.

“Many people of color mistakenly believe that they are not at risk, but skin cancer is color-blind,” said Henry W. Lim, M.D., of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. 

The extensive review on skin cancer in people of color is available online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

On average, one American dies from melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) every hour. The five-year survival rate for African-Americans and Latinos diagnosed with melanoma is lower than Caucasians, likely due to the fact that it is often more advanced when diagnosed. For example, the five-year survival rate for African-Americans is 73%, compared to 91% in Caucasians.

Study authors recommend people of color take a vitamin D supplement because they are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially individuals with darker skin.