Dr Zizmor Raises Awareness About Skin Cancer for Patients with Darker Skin

March 31, 2014 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
While people with darker skin pigmentation may have less of risk of developing skin cancer, it is still a threat, explains Dr. Jonathan Zizmor, a top-rated dermatologist in New York City. A new study entitled, "Skin cancer and photoprotection in people of color: A review and recommendations for physicians and the public" published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), finds that people of color often do not discover they have the cancer until it is in an advance stage and therefore can be difficult to treat.

One American dies from melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour and the rate is higher for people of color, according to the study. For instance, the five-year survival rate for African Americans is 73 percent compared to 91 percent in Caucasians. The research also discovered that people of color often find melanoma in places that are not exposed to the sun such as the bottom of the foot a common place for skin cancer to develop. "It is important that everyone make it a habit to examine their skin and watch for any changes in moles or other marks on the skin," says Dr. Zizmor.

Skin cancer prevention can be effective with some behavioral and lifestyle choices. While there is no guarantee people lessen their risk of melanoma by taking a few steps to keep safe (such as seeking the shade when outside and applying sunscreen). Here are five recommendations from Dr. Zizmor to help reduce risk of skin cancer:

1. It is important for everyone, regardless of skin tone, to stay away from prolonged exposure to sun's ultra violet rays.
2. Always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher when going out on the face, arms and necks and legs as needed. Make sure to reapply if you are outdoors for a long period. Remember, if you go swimming or engage in strenuous exercise the sunscreen can easily come off.
3. Wear clothing that will protect you from the sun's rays — such as a wide brimmed hat and a long sleeve coverup over a bathing suit for instance.
4. Get yourself checked out by a board-certified dermatologist on a regular basis (annually) to ensure moles and other discolorations are not signs of skin cancer.
5. Stay away from tanning beds or salons they are not good for your skin no matter what the tanning salon says.

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