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Skin cancer rates rising among Hispanics

Colton Shone
May 03, 2017 05:26 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.  -- It's that time of year when many go outside to soak up the sun. But new numbers show that skin cancer is skyrocketing, especially among Hispanics.

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Dr. Therese Holguin with UNM Health Sciences Center says skin cancer detection can be tricky to the untrained eye. In her experience, she says Hispanic people tend to ignore moles and get them checked when it becomes too late.

"The statistics also show that when a Hispanic is diagnosed with melanoma, it's usually a deeper melanoma which means the prognosis of whether they'll survive becomes less," Holguin said.  "They are more likely to die."

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the rate of the deadly melanoma skin cancer among Hispanics increased 19 percent from 1992 to 2008.

She says two other kinds of skin cancer  --  basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma  -- are less likely to be deadly.

The rising rate is a trend Holguin sees here in New Mexico. The reason? She says misperception of sun safety among darker skinned people.

"It is true that if you have more pigment you're more protected,  however there's this myth that if you have more pigment, you have no risk," she said.

Holguin says look for moles with irregular shapes, changing color, itchiness or bleeding. If you see that,  go to your doctor right away. 

Best tips? Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing and stay in shade. 

Credits

Colton Shone

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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