While it’s true that skin cancer largely affects Caucasians more than other races and ethnicities, all skin types are susceptible to developing skin cancer. UV rays are the biggest cause of skin cancer, but other factors such as genetics and environmental influencers can increase a person’s chances as well. One disease that particularly affects dark skin tones is called acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) and appears on the palms of hands and soles of feet. An especially dangerous form of melanoma, ALM took the life of Bob Marley at the young age of 36.
No matter your race, ethnicity, age or gender, the fact remains that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Staying ahead of skin cancer is the best way to protect yourself from falling victim to it.
How do you do that? Here’s a few ways to get a good start:
- ALWAYS protect yourself in the sun. Applying sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher daily is crucial for blocking out harmful rays. Don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, pants and long-sleeved shirt when spending time outdoors.
- MONITOR your skin for any changes. Be your own biggest advocate. Do a thorough self-exam from head to toe each month. If you find any suspicious spots or moles that have changed in any way, schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.
- RECEIVE ANNUAL SCREENINGS. Most insurance plans will cover one complete skin exam per year, in which your doctor will check all moles and make sure nothing looks dangerous.