This news release is available in Spanish.
More than three-quarters of Hispanics patients in North Carolina aren't performing skin self-exams (SSE) to detect possible skin cancers, and physicians need to do a better job of educating their patients about this potentially life-saving practice, say researchers in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Study results were reported earlier this year in the Research Letters section of the Archives of Dermatology.
"We know that the rates of melanoma, one of the deadliest skin cancers, are on the rise globally, and in the U.S., Hispanics and African-Americans often present to physicians with more advanced cases of the cancer," said Dr. Aida Lugo-Somolinos, professor of dermatology at UNC. "We wanted to understand more fully why Hispanic patients weren't performing SSEs and what role the physician was playing in the process, especially since SSEs may lead to earlier melanoma diagnosis."
Researchers worked with Hispanic patients at Piedmont Health Services in Carrboro, UNC dermatology clinics and El Pueblo, a Hispanic advocacy group in Raleigh. Most participants, Lugo-Somolinos said, listed their country of origin as Mexico, but nine other countries were listed.
Among the results: 23 percent reported knowing skin-cancer risk factors, such as sun exposure; 9 percent received a regular skin examination; and 22 percent performed SSEs.
Darker-skinned individuals in the U.S., including Hispanics and African-Americans, have lower rates of skin cancer than Caucasians, but the risk remains, Lugo-Somolinos said. "We want to encourage primary care providers to help make their non-Caucasian patients aware they are also at risk for skin cancer, especially through su
|Contact: Kathy Neal|
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill