Doctors fight myth about African-Americans and skin cancer

Dermatologists recommend people to check their skin once a month for signs of skin cancer and to see a dermatologist once a year.
Skin cancer can be even more dangerous for African-Americans. Darker skin does not make people immune to the danger.
Preston Lewis is a trainer, and he stays on the move. He said he wasn't worried when he noticed something on his heel.
“(I) saw a spot on my foot,” Lewis said. “I figured I do training, thought it was a bruise or something.”

It was his wife who told him not to ignore it.
“She was like, ‘You need to go to the doctor, get that checked. That's cancer.’ I'm like, ‘Whatever, girl,’” Lewis said.

It was same scenario for Tonya Ardrey. She ignored a spot on her foot for more than a year until the dermatologist she worked for got a look at it.
“He said, ‘We need to take that off.’ And I was like, ‘We're not cutting anything off of me. I'm fine.’ And he said, ‘No, seriously, we need to cut that off,’” said Ardrey.
The spot for Adrey and Lewis was melanoma.
“I didn't think I could get it,” Lewis said. “Having dark skin, I didn't think I could get it.”

“It is a myth that African-Americans cannot get skin cancer,” said Dr. Tonya McLeod, Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology. “When we do develop malignant melanoma, it is a specific type, it's called Acrallentiginous,” Dr. McLeod said. “And it's found on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.”
Dr. McLeod said sun safety isn't stressed enough in many African-American families. But, the rules are the same.
“Everyone no matter what your skin type is, should wear sunscreen,” Dr. McLeod said. “Because the sun does not discriminate.”