Can Black People Get Skin Cancer?

Source: JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty

Skin cancer is often thought of as a health concern linked to people with fair skin. However, this misconception has led to a lack of awareness within the Black community about the risks associated with skin cancer. One prevalent myth is that individuals with darker skin tones are naturally protected against skin cancer due to having higher levels of melanin, a substance in the body that produces hair, eye and skin pigmentation.

Melanin works wonders for Black people because it can block harmful UV rays from penetrating our skin. The darker you are, the more melanin you have, which can help to thwart off pesky UV rays. A study conducted by the CDC found that between 2000 and 2010 around “13 percent of Black women” experienced sunburn compared to “9 percent of Black men.” That’s low in comparison to white men and women. Around “66 percent of white women and just over 65 percent of white men” were victims of sunburn during the same period.


While melanin does offer some protection by absorbing UV radiation, it doesn’t make Black individuals immune to skin cancer.

When skin cancer occurs in people with darker skin, it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage, leading to poorer health outcomes. Black people can develop hyperpigmentation and scarring if exposed to harsh sunlight for too long. We are also almost four times more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage melanoma, a form of skin cancer, because there’s an assumption that Black people aren’t at risk of developing the disease, according to Healthline. Common symptoms like skin ulcerations and lumps often go unnoticed.

Long-term exposure to the sun can increase our risk for skin cancer, but there are things we can do to prevent the condition from getting out of hand. Dermatologists recommend that everyone regardless of skin color, use an SPF skin protectant of 30 or higher to fight back against harmful UV rays. When you’re at the beach or walking outside during peak sunlight hours, consider wearing protective clothing or walking underneath the shade to shield your skin from the sun.


Understanding the importance of preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer.

Regular skin checks and screenings are essential for detecting skin cancer early. Black individuals should be proactive about their skin health, recognizing that skin cancer can manifest differently on darker skin tones. Any changes in moles, the appearance of new growths, or persistent skin abnormalities should be promptly addressed with a healthcare professional. Black people can detect early signs of skin cancer by looking at their skin or mouths for any abnormalities. Consult a doctor if you see the following:

dark spots, growths, or patches that appear to be changing, growing, or bleeding.
patches that feel rough and dry
dark lines underneath or around fingernails and toenails
sore that has a hard time healing, especially if the sore appears in a scar or on skin that was injured in the past


The Origins Of Black People With Red Hair

Unveiling The Beauty Of Black People with Green Eyes


The post Can Black People Get Skin Cancer? appeared first on NewsOne.

Help Stop Hate! Spread Love

Widely disseminated misinformation is extremely harmful and serves as a catalyst for hatred, violence and prejudice of every kind. This is counterproductive to the unification and strengthening of a nation. News outlets and journalists have a major responsibility to maintain a high degree of partiality and truthfulness that many Americans feel is not being honored. ADL, the Anti-Semitism Defense League is dedicated to offering impartial education on issues involving anti-Semitism to help Americans make informed decisions. A not-for-profit public service organization powered by Love, ADL provides free resources that educate society on anti-Semitism and ways to work together to combat the ancient hatred while promoting equality and prosperity for all people.

Free Download


Featured Articles

Breach of Contract and Conspiracy to Deprive of Civil Rights: An Evaluation of Potential Legal Claims and Criminal Charges Stemming from the Defamatory Social Lynching of Kyrie Irving

Basketball star Kyrie Irving captured the media’s attention when he faced allegations of anti-Semitism due to a social media post containing a link to the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.” Succumbing to external pressure, Irving removed the controversial post and offered a public apology. Nonetheless, upon further examination of the circumstances, it appears that Irving might have been criminally deprived of his rights, and could potentially possess a legal claim against his former employer for violating contractual terms.

Send Us A Message

News & Opinions