In a report presented to the American Academy of Dermatology by Dr. Hugh Gloster, Dermatologist at University of Cincinnati, he has concluded that while fair-skinned people are at more risk to develop skin cancers, darker-skinned people are also prone it and when they do get it, it is more fatal than in fair-skinned individuals.
Dr. Gloster attributes the higher mortality rates in darker-skinned people to the cancers being diagnosed at a later stage. The belief that darker-skinned people are more immune to skin cancers because of more melanin pigmentation that protects them from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun makes them ignore skin changes indicative of cancers at an early stage leading to higher death rates in dark-skinned individuals.
Also, Dr. Gloster has pointed out that two of three most common types of skin cancers are not sun related as they occur primarily in sites not exposed to sun like the sole of the foot and this explains why darker-skinned people are also prone to skin cancers.
Since skin cancers in darker-skinned people occur in uncommon sites like palms, soles, fingers, toes, under the nails and mucosal surfaces like in the mouth and genitalia, regular full skin examination and self-examination can help prevent cancers. Any abnormal skin changes should be checked immediately as earlier diagnosis makes the disease less fatal. Dr. Gloster also advises the use of sunscreen in all races to help prevent skin cancers.