If I have darker skin, I don’t have to wear sunscreen — right?

Daybreak

(WYTV) – Do people with darker skin have to worry about skin cancer? Yes they do — it’s the most common type of cancer in this country.

Forty percent of all cancer in Caucasians are skin cancer. That number drops quite a bit to 6% for Hispanics, 5% for Asian Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders, and just 2% for African Americans.

The key is to know what to look for on any skin shade.

“Caucasian patients, when there’s sun damage, we tend to see redness and erythema as a clue to some of that. In dark-skinned patients, what you actually tend to see is hyperpigmentation — so darkening of the skin — or a hypopigmentation, which is lightening of the skin,” said Dr. Yemi Sokumbi, a dermatologist.

When African Americans develop skin cancer, they tend to have more severe cases and are more likely to die of it than Caucasians.

Many African Americans think they don’t need to use sunscreen. Dermatologists say that’s a dangerous myth. Although Black skin already comes with a sun protection factor of 13, everyone needs at least 30.

One in five people in the U.S. will have skin cancer in their lifetime.

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