Dark skin does not protect from skin cancers
The Jamaican singer Bob Marley died at the age of 36 for an acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM), a dangerous form of melanoma that usually appear on the palms and soles of the feet.
A recent survey pointed out that more than 60% of African Americans never used sunscreen. This is probably one of the reasons they are most likely to be diagnosed in later stages and have worst prognosis and lowest survival rate.
It is true that darker skin produces more of melanin that does protect skin and prevent sun damages but only to a certain extent. Dark skin does not protect from skin cancers and People of color can get sunburns as well and develop skin cancer.
To avoid skin aging and skin damages that can cause more serious problems it is important that everyone (Caucasian, afro American, Latino) start to protect himself from the risks of unsafe sun exposure using appropriate screens, seeking shade as much as possible during daily activities and wearing protective cloths. Doctors recommends monthly self-exams to people from all ethnicities and possibly an annually visit to a dermatologist.
Most skin cancers have good prognosis when diagnosed in their first stages therefore an early spot is crucial.
JAAD – Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology – Racial disparities in melanoma survival – published on line July 2016