Higher Incidence of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer Found in Asian and Hispanic Women

According to a study presented at the American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) 73rd Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Asian and Hispanic women have an increased risk of developing nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC). The academy noted these groups should be aware of their risk and take steps toward prevention and detection.

Arisa Ortiz, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology and director, laser and cosmetic dermatology, University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and colleagues reportedly reviewed five years of Mohs micrographic surgery cases at UCSD and found the majority of NMSCs in Caucasian patients (66%) occurred in men, while the majority of NMSCs in Hispanic (66.1%) and Asian (60.6%) patients occurred in women. Additionally, Hispanic NMSC patients were significantly younger (average age: 62) than Asian (average age: 70) and Caucasian (average age: 66) NMSC patients.

Asian cultures traditionally have favored fair skin as a beauty standard, Ortiz noted during the AAD meeting, but these attitudes may have shifted in second- and third-generation families that have adopted the U.S. preference for tanning. She said the incidence of NMSC in both Hispanic and Asian patients may be impacted by indoor tanning and excessive sun exposure. Members of these populations may not have access to sun protection information, or they may believe their darker skin tone provides them with sufficient protection. However, she stressed the importance for Hispanic and Asian individuals to take the same skin cancer prevention measures as Caucasians.

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