Skin Cancer in Skin of Color

  • Brooke A. Jackson


Skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States.1 While skin cancer is less common in people with skin of color, it is more often associated with an increased incidence of morbidity and mortality as compared to white counterparts.2,3 This imbalance has significant public health concerns. Current skin cancer campaigns focus on Caucasian patients in high-risk groups. There is a paucity of literature on skin cancer in skin of color. Most physicians do not immediately associate skin cancer with skin of color, and little is known about the sun-protective behaviors of those with skin of color. Similarly the collection of statistics for skin cancer in skin of color is challenging as non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) are not consistently reported to tumor registries, and many NMSCs in skin of color are reported as melanomas. According to the 2,000 census,4 by the year 2050, 50% of the US population will be non-white. This changing demographic, combined with the disparate mortality, makes it imperative that physicians become familiar with skin cancer in skin of color so that they may better educate these patients on risk factors and early detection.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer Basal Cell Carcinoma Mycosis Fungoides Significant Public Health Concern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. 2nd ed. Understanding and improving health and objectives for improving health. Vol 2. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; November 2000.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gloster HM Jr, Brodland DG. The epidemiology of skin cancer. Dermatol Surg. 1996;22:217–226CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jemal A, Siegel R, Ward E, et al. Cancer Statistics, 2006. Ca Cancer J Clin. 2006;56:106–130.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    US Census Bureau Population Division. Projections of the resident population by race, Hispanic origin, and nativity: middle series, 1999–2100. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau; 2000.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Montagna W. The architecture of black and white skin. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1991;24:29–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Halder RM, Bridgeman-Shah S. Skin cancer in African Americans. Cancer. 1995;75:667–673.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Halder RM, Ara CJ. Skin cancer and photoaging in ethnic skin. Dermatol Clin. 2003;21:725–732CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Halder RM, Ara CJ. Skin cancer and photoaging in ethnic skin. Dermatol Clin. 2003;21:725–732CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    American Cancer Society, Non melanoma skin cancer detailed guide. Accessed 12/19/08.
  10. 10.
    Naruse K, Ueda M, Nagana T, et al. Prevalence of actinic keratoses in Japan. J Dermatol Sci. 1997;15:183–187.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scotto J, Fears TR, Fraumeni JF. Incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer in the United States. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office; 1983. NIH report no. 83–2433Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Weinstock MA. Epidemiology of melanoma. Cancer Treat Res. 1993;65:29–56.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Koh D, Wang H, Lee J, et al. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma of the skin: analysis of the Singapore Cancer Registry Data 1968–1997. Br J Dermatol. 2003;148:1161–1166.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Halder RM, Bang KM. Skin cancer in blacks in the United States. Dermatol Clin. 1988;6:397–405.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Penello GA, Devesa S, Gail M. Association of surface ultraviolet B radiation levels with melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer in United States blacks. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9:291–297.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sing B, Bhaya M, Shaha A, et al. Presentation, course and outcome of head and neck cancer in African Americans: a case controlled study. Laryngoscope. 1998;108:1159–1163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Chorun L, Norris JE, Gupta M. Basal Cell carcinoma in Blacks: a report of 15 cases. Am Plast Surg. 1994;33:90–95.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nadiminti U, Rakkhit T, Washington C. Morpheaform basal cell carcinoma in African Americans. Dermatol Surg. 2004;30:1550–1552.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lesher JL, d’Aubermont PC, Brown VM. Morpheaform basal cell carcinoma in a young black woman. J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1988;14:200–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Cheng SY, Luk NM, Chong LY. Special features of non-melanoma skin cancer in Hong Kong Chinese patients: 10 year retrospective study. Hong Kong Med J. 2001;7:22–28.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Matsuoka LY, Schauer PK, Sordillo PP. Basal cell carcinoma in black patients. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1981;4(6):670–672.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Briley JJ, Chaveda K, Lynfield YL. Sunscreen use and usefulness in African Americans. J Drugs Dermatol. 2007;6(1):19–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ferdinand KC, Armani AM. The management of hypertension in African Americans. Crit Pathw Cardiol J Evid Based Med. 2007 June;6(2):67–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Mora RG, Perniciaro C. Cancer of the skin in blacks: a review of 163 black patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1981;5:535–543.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hale EK, Jorizzo JL, Nehal KS, et al. Current concepts in the management of actinic keratosis. J Drugs Dermatol. 2004, March–April;3(2 Suppl):S3–16.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Suzuki T, Ueda M, Naruse K, et al. Incidence of actinic keratosis of Japanese in Kasai City, Hyogo. Dermatol Sci. 1997;16:74–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Halder RM, Bang KM. Skin cancer in blacks in the United States. Dermatol Clin. 1988;6:397–405.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Mora RG, Perniciaro C, Lee B. Cancer of the skin in blacks III: a review of nineteen black patients with Bowen’s disease. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1984;11:557–562.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Mora RG. Surgical and aesthetic considerations of cancer of the skin in the black American. Am J Dermatol Surg Oncol. 1986;12:24–31.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Fleming ID, Barnawell JR, Burlison PE, et al. Skin cancer in black patients. Cancer. 1975;35:600–605.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Schamroth JM, Weiss RM, Grieve TP. Verrucous Bowen’s disease in an African American patient. S Afr Med J. 1987;71:527–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Krishnan R, Lewis A, Orengo IG, et al. Pigmented Bowen’s disease (squamous cell carcinoma in situ): a mimic of malignant melanoma. Dermatol Surg. 2001;27:673–674.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Ries LAG, Melbert D, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer statistics review, 1975–2005, Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Accessed 12/18/08.
  34. 34.
    Cress RD, Holly EA. Incidence of cutaneous melanoma among non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, Asians and Blacks: an analysis of California Cancer Registry data, 1988–1993. Cancer Causes Control. 1997;8:246–252.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Greenlee RT, Murray T, Bolden S, et al. Cancer statistics, 2000. CA Cancer J Clin. 2000;50(1):7–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Washington CV, Grimes PE. Incidence and prevention of skin cancer. Cosmetic Dermatol. 2003;16:46–48.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Stone ML, Styles AR, Cockerell CJ, et al. Hypopigmented mycosis fungoides: a report of 7 cases and review of the literature. Cutis. 2001;67:133–138.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Akaraphanth R, Douglass MC, Lim HW. Hypopigmented mycosis fungoides: treatment and a 61/2 year follow up of 9 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000;42:33–39.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wienstock MA, Horm JW. Mycosis fungoides in the United States. JAMA. 1988;260:42–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Stone MC, Styles AR, Cockerell CJ. Hypopigmented mycosis fungoides: a report of 7 cases and review of the literature. Cutis. 2001;67:133–138.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Whitmore SE, Simmons-O’Brien E, Rotter FS. Hypopigmented mycosis fungoides. Arch Dermatol. 1994;130:476–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    LeFlore IC. Misconceptions regarding elective plastic surgery in the black patient. J Natl Med Assoc. 1980;72:947–948.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Arnold HL, Franer FH. Keloids: etiology and management by excision and intensive prophylactic radiation. Arch Dermatol. 1959;80:772PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brooke A. Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologySkin Wellness Center of Chicago, Northwestern Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations