African-Americans and Asian-Americans need to check their feet for signs of skin cancer

Many people don't know that the Jamaican musician, Bob Marley died of malignant melanoma in his right foot.

African-Americans and Asian-Americans tend not to check for signs of skin cancer, as many feel they aren't susceptible to the disease because of their darker skin. This misconception means that most cases aren't diagnosed until much later when the disease has progressed and become difficult to treat, which leads to higher fatalities among minorities.

Tracey Vlahovic, D.P.M., assistant professor of podiatric medicine and orthopedics at Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, stresses the importance of minority populations checking their feet for signs of skin cancer.

“Simply just checking the feet, toenails and in between the toes for abnormal pigmentation and strange moles could save a life,” said Vlahovic, an expert in the skin of the feet and lower extremities.

“The legs and feet are not immune to the sun's effects, and since women tend to expose those areas more than men, they have a higher risk of developing skin cancer there,” Vlahovic adds. “Sunscreen is important, no matter your race or ethnicity.”

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