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Written by Azeen Sadeghian, MD, FAAD
Skin cancer can affect any patient of any age or skin color. The risk of skin cancer is increased for people in certain populations (eg, those with fair skin, increased UV exposure, immunosuppression, chemical exposures, genetic syndromes), however, this does not mean skin cancer does not occur in people with darker skin colors.
Recognizing skin cancers in skin of color is crucial. Individuals with darker skin (such as Hispanic and African American individuals) are historically less likely to be screened for skin cancer; an example of racial disparity in medicine and an opportunity for all dermatologists to improve our detection skills. Below, we will review special cases of skin cancer and highlight images in skin of color. Although skin cancers have common presentations, even uncommon presentations should remain suspect. Certain warning signs exist, such as new lesions, asymmetric, growing or enlarging lesions, irregular borders, bleeding or symptomatic, irregular colors, irregular dermoscopy findings, or abnormal history.
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