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Skin cancer and photoprotection in people of color: A review and recommendations for physicians and the public

Published:January 30, 2014DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2013.11.038
      Skin cancer is less prevalent in people of color than in the white population. However, when skin cancer occurs in non-whites, it often presents at a more advanced stage, and thus the prognosis is worse compared with white patients. The increased morbidity and mortality associated with skin cancer in patients of color compared with white patients may be because of the lack of awareness, diagnoses at a more advanced stage, and socioeconomic factors such as access to care barriers. Physician promotion of skin cancer prevention strategies for all patients, regardless of ethnic background and socioeconomic status, can lead to timely diagnosis and treatment. Public education campaigns should be expanded to target communities of color to promote self-skin examination and stress importance of photoprotection, avoidance of tanning bed use, and early skin cancer detection and treatment. These measures should result in reduction or earlier detection of cutaneous malignancies in all communities. Furthermore, promotion of photoprotection practices may reduce other adverse effects of ultraviolet exposure including photoaging and ultraviolet-related disorders of pigmentation.

      Key words

      Abbreviations used:

      BCC (basal cell carcinoma), DFSP (dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans), MED (minimal erythema dose), MF (mycosis fungoides), MM (malignant melanoma), NMSC (nonmelanoma skin cancer), POC (people of color), SCC (squamous cell carcinoma), SEER (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results), SPF (sun-protection factor), UV (ultraviolet)
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      Linked Article

      • Skin cancer, photoprotection, and skin of color
        Journal of the American Academy of DermatologyVol. 71Issue 3
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          To the Editor: We read with interest the article by Agbai and colleagues about skin cancers in “skin of color,” and commend them for bringing attention to this increasingly relevant issue.1 However, we are concerned about several aspects of this article, especially recommendations on photoprotection in “people of color” (POC). These are effectively public health messages and hence must be subjected to the same scrutiny dictated by other public health policies.
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