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“In addition to preventing skin cancer, it’s important for people of color to regularly examine their skin in order to detect skin cancer early, when it’s most treatable,” said Dr. Galadari. “When skin cancer is diagnosed in people of color, it is often found in areas of the skin that are not typically exposed to the sun. In fact, the bottom of the foot is where 30 to 40 percent of melanomas are diagnosed in people of color.”
To increase people’s chances of spotting skin cancer early, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone learn the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:
Dr. Galadari also notes that new spots or moles that itch, bleed or change color are often early warning signs of skin cancer. Keeping the ABCDE rule in mind, he recommends that people of color check their skin regularly, paying particular attention to the inside of their mouth, the palms of their hands and fingernails, groin, buttocks, and the soles of their feet and toenails. He also says it’s a good idea to ask a partner to help with a skin examination, as another set of eyes can be helpful for checking the back and other hard-to-see areas.
“Skin cancer can look and develop differently in individuals with skin of color than it does in individuals with lighter skin tones,” said Dr. Galadari. “That’s why it’s so important for people to check their skin regularly and make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist if they see anything unusual.”
These tips are demonstrated in “Skin of Color: How to Prevent and Detect Skin Cancer,” a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD’s “Video of the Month” series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD website and YouTube channel each month.
Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 19,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the AAD at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow the AAD on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology), Twitter (@AADskin), or YouTube (AcademyofDermatology).