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Skin Health Advocacy

Spotlight on Acral Melanoma: Detecting Skin Cancer Symptoms in Black and Brown Skin

“May marks Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and this year, we're shedding light on acral melanoma – a type often overlooked, especially in black and brown skin. Join us in raising awareness, spotting the signs, and prioritizing skin health for all. ”


As May ushers in Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the spotlight shines on a lesser-discussed but critical aspect of skin health: acral melanoma.

Melanoma UK, a leading charity in the fight against melanoma, has launched its “Beauty Spotters” campaign, aiming to raise awareness of acral melanoma and empower individuals to recognize its signs, particularly prevalent in black and brown skin.

Mark Rawden, CEO of Melanoma UK, emphasizes the importance of broadening the conversation beyond sun-related skin cancers.

“Beauty Spotters” aims not only to raise awareness but also to advocate for behavioral changes crucial for early detection among all demographics.

Understanding Acral Melanoma:

Dr. Ross Perry, a renowned skin cancer expert and GP at Cosmedics Skin Clinics UK, sheds light on acral melanoma.

Unlike typical melanomas linked to sun exposure, acral melanoma surfaces on the soles of feet, palms of hands, or beneath nails.

Dr. Perry highlights its rarity and propensity to affect individuals with darker skin tones, particularly those of Asian descent.

The unique challenge with acral melanoma lies in its inconspicuous presentation, often leading to delayed diagnosis and rapid progression. Consequently, it poses heightened risks compared to other melanomas.

Risk Factors and Symptoms:

While acral melanoma can affect anyone, individuals with darker skin tones, such as Hispanic, Black, and Asian populations, are at increased risk. Advanced age is also a contributing factor.

Symptoms of acral melanoma include evolving spots or moles on hands or feet, streaks on nails, irregular growths, or thickened patches on palms or soles.

Dr. Perry emphasizes the importance of vigilance and seeking medical attention for any suspicious changes, as they may initially resemble common ailments like bruises or warts.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Early detection remains pivotal in the management of acral melanoma. Dr. Perry underscores the significance of regular self-examinations, especially of the hands and feet. Seeking prompt medical evaluation enables timely intervention, often involving surgical removal in early stages.

For more advanced cases, comprehensive treatment plans may entail lymph node biopsies and tailored therapies based on disease progression.

In conclusion, as Skin Cancer Awareness Month unfolds, let’s heed the call to action by Melanoma UK and become vigilant “Beauty Spotters.”

By amplifying awareness of acral melanoma and advocating for proactive skin health practices, we can empower individuals to safeguard their well-being against this formidable foe.





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