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Friday, 28 July 2006 09:46
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Dark skin 'does not block cancer'
Researchers at the Cincinnati University, America warn that people with dark skin are more likely to die from skin cancer than those with fairer skin.

Although the disease is less common, when it does occur it is typically more aggressive and diagnosed later, which leads to more deaths.

Lead researcher Dr Hugh Gloster said: "There's a perception that people with darker skin don't have to worry about skin cancer, but that's not true.

"Minorities do get skin cancer, and because of this false perception most cases aren't diagnosed until they are more advanced and difficult to treat.

"Unfortunately, that translates into higher mortality rates”.

He said it was true that the extra pigment in darker skin did afford some added protection against the sun's harmful UV rays and that darker skin is, therefore, less susceptible to sunburn.

Ed Yong, cancer information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: "This study shows that even people with darker skin need to be aware of the signs of skin cancer.

"Although those most at risk of skin cancer are people with fair skin, lots of moles or freckles or a family history of the disease, it is also important for black people to check their skin regularly.

"Black people are most likely to develop skin cancers on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet.

"Checking your skin for unusual changes is crucial as it can mean that the disease can be spotted earlier, when it is easier to treat”.


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