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Florida Latinos have highest national incidence rates of melanoma

LatinaLista — With people believing the old urban myth that brown-skinned people don’t get sunburned, it’s not surprising that the latest skin cancer findings are making people scratch their heads.


A new study published in the Archives of Dermatology shows that Latinos and black women in Florida are being afflicted with the skin cancer melanoma at higher rates than the national average.

Compared to national rates, incidence of the potentially deadly skin cancer in Florida was 20 percent higher among Hispanic men and 60 percent higher among black women, but 30 percent lower for Hispanic women.

Researchers aren’t sure why this is happening but they do feel it has something to do with the state’s higher UV index. Plus the fact that while lighter-skinned people have been known to contract melanoma more, it’s historically been the case that Latinos and blacks are diagnosed with the cancer at later stages when it’s more deadly.

Aside from avoiding the sun altogether, the only way to diminish the chances of getting melanoma is to use sunscreen. A new national educational campaign and contest about sun-healthy behavior hopes to impact the rates of melanoma across the nation.

Sponsored by the skin line Neutrogena, the Choose Skin Healthâ„¢ campaign is a result of a partnership with The American Society for Dermatological Surgery. On the campaign’s web site, visitors learn important and useful information such as the different types of skin cancers, what SPF 30 really means, the dos and don’ts for sun protection and the difference between UVA and UVB rays.

There is also an interactive activity on how to determine if a mole is cancerous, a downloadable self-exam kit and the opportunity to get a free skin cancer screening — not to mention, Neutrogena offers a $2 coupon on their suncare products.

People of all skin tones and races are at risk for skin cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005, 50,589 whites, 1,122 Hispanics, 261 blacks, 159 Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 95 American Indians/Alaska Natives in the United States were diagnosed with melanomas (the deadliest form of skin cancer) of the skin.


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  • sabine
    July 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I can’t believe researchers are still scratching their heads over this, as Melanoma has been in Black and Latino communities for awhile. Alot has to do with the urban myth, as well as the fact the sunscreen/sunblock is not advertised to us. Who do you see in those campaigns, Blond fair skin women. So that reinforces the myth. Neutrogena, L’oreal, and others need to add more women of color in their adds.

  • Melanie Christy
    July 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Personal vigilance is essential in preventing and diagnosing skin cancer and malignant melanoma. For an easy to use mole recording and tracking product, visit
    The Visiderm Skin Monitoring System was recently featured on the medical talk show THE DOCTORS. It is the only product that records and tracks every single mole change warning sign…Assymetrical, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolving. It does not diagnose or treat skin cancer, but is merely a personal awareness product to notice change and make that essential appointment with the dermatologist.

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