Minorities More Likely Than Whites To Report Sunburns, CDC Report Finds
Blacks and Hispanics were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report having had a sunburn, according to a report released Thursday by CDC that found 36.9% of U.S. residents had at least one sunburn in 2004, the Miami Herald reports. The report is based on an analysis of 57 sunburn studies involving more than 700,000 people.
The report found that sunburn prevalence was:
- 35.6% among non-Hispanic whites;
- 45.6% among Hispanics; and
- 50.4% among non-Hispanic blacks.
Physicians tend to direct information about sunburn to more light-skinned patients than those with darker skin, which could account for higher rates of sunburn among minorities, the Herald reports. In addition, many darker-skinned people do not believe they can burn, according to the Herald.
According to the report, people with a history of sunburn are more than twice as likely as those without such a history to develop melanoma, which can be fatal. In 2003, there were 45,625 cases of melanoma and 7,818 people died from the disease, the Herald reports.
Minorities usually are diagnosed with skin cancer later than whites and have lower survival rates, the Herald reports. Lawrence Schachner, chair of the University of Miami's Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Surgery, said, "Darker-skinned patients may not be as carefully surveyed for skin cancer in annual check-ups" (Tasker/Cox, Miami Herald, 6/1).
The report is available online. This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.