SAN DIEGO, July 27 (UPI) -- University of Cincinnati researchers say dark-skinned people are more likely than whites to die from skin cancer and its related complications.
Dr. Hugh Gloster says that dark-skinned people -- including African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics and American Indians -- develop fewer non-melanoma skin cancers compared with whites and it was commonly believed that they were "immune" to most skin cancers.
However, dark-skinned people can get skin cancer, and when it does occur it is typically more aggressive and diagnosed in its later stages, which leads to disproportionately more deaths among minority populations.
"There's a perception that people with darker skin don't have to worry about skin cancer, but that's not true," Gloster told the summer meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in San Diego.
"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."
Gloster and colleagues conducted a retrospective review of clinical data collected over the last 50 years by medical centers across North America, Asia and Africa to determine which epidemiologic and medical features of skin cancer are unique to dark skin.
They found fewer blacks developed skin cancer, but a larger number of them died of the disease, Gloster says.