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Paper Title: Reflection on the risk factors for skin cancers: Focus on dark-skinned Africans

Authors: Amadi E.S., Pepple, E.F.

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Skin cancers are rare in dark-skinned Africans however these individuals are faced with worse morbidity and mortality compared to other racial groups. The lack of awareness of the risk factors for skin cancer as well as the poor perception of risk among dark-skinned individuals has contributed to the late presentation of these patients to skin care clinics.

This review aims to highlight the risk factors for skin cancer in dark-skinned Africans in comparison to lighter-skinned racial groups and offer key preventive strategies.

A search of studies conducted in Africa and other regions with dark-skinned individuals of African descent such as those resident in the United States of America was carried out, through multiple online database searches on PubMed, Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ) and Cochrane Library.

From our review, squamous cell carcinoma was the most common reported skin cancer in dark-skinned Africans. They were also observed to have higher occurrence of Kaposi sarcoma, cutaneous melanoma, and dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans comparable to Caucasians. Causes of chronic irritation such as leg ulcers and scarring were common risk factors.  

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