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Time To Double Check. These Parts Of Your Body Are More Prone To Skin Cancer.

June 24, 2015 2 min read

Skin cancer can happen to any person and in any place on the body but certain skin tones may be more prone in areas of the body that you may never expect. Based on your colouring, here are some places you should double check:

Deep to Dark Skin

Skin cancer is most deadly for African Americans. In fact, the 5 year survival rate is 73% compared with a 93% survival rate for Caucasians. Why? It is often caught in later stages. This means you have to take any changes in your skin seriously and consult a doctor. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common skin malignancy among African Americans and Asian Indians, and mainly occurs in the legs and around the butt and genitals. Deep skin tones are also at a high risk for cancer in places like the palms, soles of feet, and underneath the nails, says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. If you spot stripes under your nail beds (or any other changes in your skin), call your doctor immediately.

Tan to Olive Skin

89% of basal cell carcinomas on brown skin happens on the head and neck. It is important to wear hats and to put sunscreen on these areas. “The sides of the neck in men and women, and the back of the neck in men who don’t have longer hair to protect it, are especially prone to basal cell carcinoma,” says Bowe. When Melanoma happens in Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians, and native Hawaiians, it often does so in unexpected places like the palms, soles of the feet and underneath nail. Remember to check these areas and don't forget to look for stripes under the nail beds. If you see anything out of the ordinary, consult your doctor.

Medium Skin

If you are a medium tone and don't burn -- just pick up colour, complacency can be your worst enemy. “I often see people with medium skin get addicted to tanning in the sun or tanning beds," says Bowe. "When you have skin that tans evenly, it’s very tempting to keep ‘refreshing’ that healthy-looking glow." The areas that are commonly missed by sunscreen are the ones to pay attention to here. Think hairline, ears, scalp, eyelids, and around the lips.

Very Fair to Fair Skin

You likely aren't surprised by this but since you burn most easily, you are most susceptible to all three forms of skin cancer -- basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. “Common spots that people forget to protect, and that I often diagnose with skin cancer, are the hairline, ears, scalp, eyelids, and around the lips,” says  Bowe. Need some good news? Skin cancer is very curable when it is caught early. Pay attention to any strange moles that have popped up and have them checked by a dermatologist a soon as you can. No matter your skin tone, wearing a daily SPF is a good call. Beyond that, pay close attention to those particular areas where skin cancer is most likely to occur. There is no such thing as being too vigilant.  

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