More than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United Sates each year. There are actually more new cases of skin cancer than cancer of the lung, prostate, colon and breast combined. Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 Americans dies every hour from skin cancer. That is alarming.
It has been reported, that annually more than 75,000 people are diagnosed with melanoma, which is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer. Those with lighter hues, tend to burn quicker, and often stay longer in the sun. This puts them at a higher risk.
Although skin cancer has been proven to be less prevalent in those with darker complexions, African Americans are not immune. It has been stated, that because of the levels of melatonin, in darker complexions, black people do not get skin cancer.
This leads many African Americans to not utilize sunscreen. Neither are they likely do not get routine checkups. For these reasons, Black Americans usually are not diagnosed until the disease is well advanced. Young people also believe they are immune to melanoma, but statistics indicate that this is not true.
Dr. Robert Weiss, is president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), This is a 5,000-member nonprofit organization which represents dermasurgeons, who are board-certified physicians.
These dermasurgeons, are trained to specifically treat the health, function and appearance of the skin and soft tissue. Dr. Weiss says skin cancer is the deadliest form of cancer and the second leading cancer for women age 20-29.
According to Theresa Hood, director of education at RRMC, “Everyone should be using sunscreen, My own kids know, if they’re going out in the sun, they better put some on.” She says even though the sun is good for us and provides Vitamin D, we should still use sunscreen.
There is an irony to skin cancer. Although it is one of the deadliest, Susan Hawthorne, Director of Oncology Services at Rapides Regional Medical Center, says that skin cancer is among the most preventable. And that prevention is as easy as applying sunscreen.
If you plan to get some rays this summer, please take precautions. It is recommended we take 5 to 15 minutes of unblocked sun to get our Vitamin D. It is believed that African Americans need 6 times the sun exposure, in order to get the same Vitamin D benefit as those with lighter hues.
After you have soaked up those golden rays, lather up, and slather on the protection. This way you will be safe as you have fun in the summer sun. Remember to never stay in the sun until you are sore or your skin is peeling. Sunburn is not the goal.