Dermatologists should be versed and informed about the specific attitudes and lifestyle habits that could be fueling rising skin cancer risk in the Hispanic population, according to dermatologist Maritza I. Perez, M.D., clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

Dr. Perez presented on Hispanics and skin cancer risk at the March 2017 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Many Latinos don’t believe they’re at risk for skin cancer because their skin is darker than that of Caucasians’ and they’re less likely to burn. And that thinking has prevailed for generations, according to Dr. Perez.

There are myths among many in the community, she says. Some Latinos get a “base tan” at an indoor tanning booth prior to tanning under the sun, thinking the base tan will protect them.

Latinos are more likely than Caucasians to be diagnosed with skin cancer in its advanced stages, Dr. Perez says.

Dermatologists should help to spread the word to the Hispanic population about the importance of self-exams, as well as help educate them about the signs of skin cancer.

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