Do Black People Get Skin Cancer? Facts You Need to Know


Cancerous growths on the skin are called skin cancers. It’s the most common type of cancer in the United States. Do black people get skin cancer?

Yes, people with black skin do develop skin cancer, but less often than those with lighter skin.

Learn more about skin cancer on black skin, how to recognize it, and practical treatment options by reading on.

Can Black People Get Skin Cancer?

Yes, black people can develop skin cancer. This is due to the possibility that they will experience the same environmental risks as people of other races or ethnicities, including ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure.

In general, Black people have a lower incidence of skin cancer.

In 2018, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 1 cases of melanoma per 100,000 Black people, compared to 25 cases per 100,000 white people.

What Causes Skin Cancer in Black People?


In general, skin cancer is caused by genetic changes that occur in the Sometimes these modifications can be detrimental, causing cells to start growing and dividing uncontrollably.

DNA can be harmed by UV radiation from the sun. As a result, regular exposure to UV rays from sunlight or UV lamps is linked to a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

There may not be a connection between sun exposure and all forms of skin cancer. The soles of the feet, palms of the hands, and nails are just a few examples of places on the body where Black people can develop skin cancer.

Why is Skin Cancer Less Common in Black People?

To understand why skin cancer is less common in Black people, it’s important to understand a little skin biology.

Normally, melanin, a pigment, is present in all skin. Black skin has more melanin than white skin, though, in comparison.

More melanin helps to better shield skin cells from UV ray damage by reflecting or absorbing more of the sun’s rays. White skin lacks this level of protection, making it more susceptible to UV ray harm.

What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer in Black People?

The main symptom of skin cancer is a change in an area of skin. Let’s go into greater detail about some qualities to consider since this sounds very general.

Skin cancers present in different ways. A cancerous area might exhibit one, a few, or all of the qualities listed below.

If you have concerns about a particular area, it’s crucial that you schedule a consultation with a dermatologist. They can inspect the area to determine whether skin cancer might be present.


In general, skin cancer frequently develops on body parts that are frequently exposed to sunlight. Some examples of such areas include the:

  • Face
  • Ears
  • Scalp
  • Neck and shoulders
  • Chest
  • arms and hands

Furthermore, black people tend to develop skin cancer more frequently in particular body regions. These include the:

  • Bottom of the foot
  • Lower legs
  • Palms
  • Under a fingernail or toenail
  • Groin

Keep in mind that skin cancer can manifest itself anywhere on your body. No matter where it is, if you see a suspicious area, make an appointment with a dermatologist right away.


It is possible for a cancerous area to be a different color from the skin’s surrounding area. Usually, it is darker. On black skin, this may appear as:

  • Dark brown
  • Purple
  • Ashen gray
  • Black

The distribution of colors in spots or moles is another thing to watch out for. A cancerous mole or spot might not be uniformly colored throughout. For instance, some areas might be darker or lighter than others.


Moles and spots that could be cancerous frequently have a unique shape from the rest of your body’s moles and spots. Keep an eye out for lesions or spots with a jagged border, an irregular shape, or an asymmetrical pattern.


A spot or mole may be very large in cases of some skin cancers, such as melanoma. A good metric to use would be to look for suspicious areas that are larger than the size of a peaTrusted Source.


It’s possible for a skin cancer-affected area to bleed or develop into a sore.


The skin may feel scratchy and scaly due to skin cancer. Additionally, it may result in nodules, indentations, and bumps.


Over time, skin cancer frequently changes or evolves. For instance, you might see that a problem area enlarges or develops a sore that either doesn’t heal or reappears.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

In general, factors like the type of cancer, its stage, and where on your body it is located affect the recommended course of treatment for skin cancer.

For many types of skin cancer, surgery is frequently used as a treatment, especially if the disease hasn’t spread to other parts of the body. There are several types of procedures that may be used:

  • Excision. A small blade is used during excision to remove the affected area.
  • both electrodesiccation and curettage. A sharp instrument called a curette is used in curettage and electrodesiccation to remove the cancerous area. Next, the bleeding is stopped and the remaining cancer cells are burned and killed using a device that produces an electric current.
  • Cryosurgery. In cryosurgery, cancerous cells are frozen and killed in the affected area using a specialized instrument.
  • Mohs surgery. Minimally invasive tissue removal is the goal of Mohs surgery. It is frequently applied to the fingers, genitals, and face. The tissue is stripped away in thin layers. Up until no cancer cells are found, each layer is inspected for them under a microscope.

In addition to or instead of surgery, there are other treatments that can be used, especially if the cancer has metastasized (spread to other parts of the body). Some examples include:

  • Radiation. High-energy radiation is used in radiation therapy to either kill or slow the growth of cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy employs potent drugs that can either kill or retard the growth of cancer cells.
  • Immunotherapy. This kind of cancer treatment aids your immune system in locating and eliminating cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy. This treatment targets particular molecules that are found in cancer cells. Because of this, it might harm healthy tissue less than radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Final Words: Do Black People Get Skin Cancer

People with darker skin can develop skin cancer. Contrary to those with lighter skin, it is less prevalent.

Most skin cancers are curable if found early.

If you notice a skin condition that concerns you, make sure to see a dermatologist. If skin cancer might be present, they can assist in detecting it.

Read More: Can Albino People Dye Their Hair?

Ada Parker

Ada Parker

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