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Lack of Awareness Blamed for Higher Skin Cancer Death Rate in Minorities

Update Date: Mar 24, 2014 04:34 PM EDT

Minorities need to be educated about their risk of developing skin cancer. New research reveals that more awareness about skin cancer is needed for minorities, as they tend to believe that they are at a lower risk of developing it.

Despite minorities' lower risk of developing skin cancer, a new study shows that minorities are diagnosed at a more advanced stage of skin cancer and have lower chances of survival than Caucasians.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the most common skin cancer among African Americans and Asian Indians is squamous cell carcinoma, which is also the second most common skin cancer in Hispanics, East Asians and Caucasians.

"We need to intensify our awareness efforts for minorities so they fully understand the dangers of sun exposure and what they can do to reduce their risk of skin cancer," researcher Dr. Diane Jackson-Richard of Henry Ford's Multicultural Dermatology Clinic in Detroit said in a news release.

"Our minority populations have this perception that they are at low risk and little can be done to prevent it. The reality is that skin cancer is a significant health concern for minorities. With early detection and treatment, though, skin cancer is highly curable," she explained.

"We must educate African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities that prevention guidelines are effective at reducing their risk of skin cancer," said Jackson-Richard, adding that fewer sunscreen products are available in Hispanic communities than in non-Hispanic communities.

Researchers presented their findings Monday during a presentation of "Skin of Color" at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in Denver.

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