Risk For Darker Skinned People

Last Modified: May 27, 2011

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Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

What is the risk of melanoma for darker skinned people/African Americans? I've heard they have to look for melanoma on palms of hands/feet etc?


Rachel Woods, BSN, RN, Nurse in Moh’s micrographic surgery at Penn Medicine, responds:

Darker skinned individuals have a lower innate risk but are not immune. Bob Marley died of melanoma. A thorough skin check includes all parts of the body (including scalp and other areas under hair, in between toes and fingers, nails, and soles and palms).

Carolyn Vachani, MSN, AOCN, OncoLink Nurse Educator adds:

Dr. Susan Taylor’s website brownskin.net is a great resource for information about brown skin and the dangers of the sun.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series: Sun Safety and Skin Cancer Prevention Webchat. View the entire transcript on Sun Safety.

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