Although many Hispanic people believe they are not at risk for skin cancer, the population is more likely to be diagnosed with the disease in more advanced stages, according to a presenter at the American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
“The belief that Hispanic people don’t have to worry about skin cancer has existed among Latinos for generations,” Maritza I. Perez, MD, FAAD, clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, who presented “Skin Cancer in Latinos 2017 what’s new” at a scientific session, stated in a press release from AAD. “They hear it from their parents and then they pass this belief on to their children.”
Maritza I. Perez
Many Latinos believe that their darker skin tones will protect them from the sun. Those who are sunburned do not realize the skin damage increases their skin cancer risk, Perez reported. Because of this, many Hispanic people do not protect themselves from the sun. Further, some use indoor tanning beds going out in the sun, falsely believing that a “base tan” will protect them from sun damage, she reported in the release.
While skin cancer is most treatable in early stages, Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with the disease in the advance stages, so it is important for the population to perform regular skin self-exams, Perez reported.
People with darker skin tones are prone to skin cancer in unusual areas including the palms of the hands or soles of the feet, under the nails and inside the mouth, so Perez recommends that Hispanic patients be vigilant in performing skin self-exams.
Another factor in disease incidence among the population is access to dermatologic care, with many Latino families being uninsured or underinsured and less likely to see a dermatologist for a skin cancer evaluation, Perez reported in the release.
It is especially important for Latino patients to understand their skin cancer risks, protect themselves from the sun and conduct regular skin self-exams, Perez reported.
“Everyone — no matter their skin color — is at risk for skin cancer, so everyone should learn how to protect themselves from the sun and how to check their skin for suspicious spots,” Perez stated in the release.
Perez MI. F098 – Skin Issues in Latino Patients; Skin Cancer in Latinos 2017 what’s new. Presented at: American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting; March 3-7, 2017; Orlando.
Disclosure: Perez reports being a consultant with Allergan, Cutera and Procter & Gamble.