While I have written several times about the need for skin cancer prevention and detection education amongst non-white segments of the population, recent studies of racial and ethnic skin cancer trends among Florida and California subjects gives clear evidence of need for targeted outreach in these communities.  The studies published in the Archives of Dermatology 2010:146(7):741-746  shows that melanoma incidence was 20 percent higher among Hispanic men and 60 percent higher among non-Hispanic black women – although 30 percent lower among Hispanic women, compared with national estimates.

According to an article in Modern Medicine,  www.modernmedicine.com   Robert S. Kirsner, MD and senior author of the Florida study says, “there is a large Hispanic population in Florida that is primarily of Cuban and South American origin. The high level of UV exposure in Florida also made the comparison intriguing.”

The comparison does shed more light on the fact that skin cancers among Hispanics is rising.  While the numbers are still seen as a small percentage among the general population, when viewed at a state level, the rise is clear.

Dr. Kisner says the study confirms that although blacks and Hispanics have a lower risk of skin cancer than NHWs (Non Hispanic Whites), “They’re not immune.  The more attention that’s brought to that, the better.”

Doctor Kirsner also says, that probably the most important message to present is one of secondary prevention – ie- detection.  SunAWARE meets this need with the inclusion of the letter R.  All skin cancer messages should include detection advice which can be found under “Routinely check your skin, understand the need for vitamin D, and report any concerns to your health care provider.”

The SunAWARE advice is free and available for all programs or organizations concerned with skin cancer prevention and detection education.  Let us know how we can help.

Be Safe.  Be SunAWARE.

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