General skin cancer facts

Anyone can get skin cancer no matter the color of their skin. Many people do not realize that people of color are also at risk for skin cancer. In fact, black reggae legend Bob Marley died at the age of 36 from melanoma skin cancer that had spread in his body.

  • Over the last 30 years, there have been more cases of skin cancer than all other types of cancer combined.
  • It’s estimated that one in five Americans will have skin cancer during their lifetime.
  • Each year in the U.S., nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer at a cost of about $8.1 billion.

How you can prevent and detect skin cancer

The Skin Cancer is Color Blind Newsletter includes prevention tips, such as:

  •     Wear sun-protective clothing.
  •     Seek out the shade.
  •     Put on sunscreen.
  •     Get Vitamin D through dietary sources or supplements.
  •     Avoid tanning beds.

Because skin cancer may be painless or otherwise not bothersome, you may not notice it unless you look for it. ASDS encourages monthly self-exams and annual screenings to help prevent skin cancer and detect any unusual areas as early as possible. Many ASDS members offer free skin cancer screenings throughout the year.

Members of ASDS are experts in treating all skin types, and you can find a dermatologic surgeon near you to get checked. Always talk to a doctor if you have concerns about your skin. If you have any new, growing or changing moles, growths or sores, or if you notice spots that are painful, itch, burn, bleed or are otherwise bothersome, have them checked by a board-certified dermatologist immediately.

To view some skin cancer photos, please see our Skin Cancer in People of Color photo gallery.

Dr. Arash Koochek, MD, MPH, providing skin cancer information at a skin cancer screening.

The Skin Cancer is Color Blind educational campaign was developed as an ASDS Future Leaders Network project by Arash Koochek, MD, MPH.