From the Journals

White Hispanic Mohs patients less informed about skin cancer risks



White Hispanic adults report a lower quality of life and less knowledge of skin cancer and sun protection behaviors than white non-Hispanic adults, survey results of 175 adults with nonmelanoma skin cancer show.

“The incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) is lower in Hispanics when compared to Caucasians, but a high index of suspicion is needed given ethnic differences in presentation,” wrote Ali Rajabi-Estarabadi, MD, of the University of Miami, and colleagues.

Hispanic patients with NMSC tend to be younger than non-Hispanic white patients, and their basal cell carcinomas are more likely to be pigmented, the investigators noted. Although previous research suggests ethnic disparities in NMSC, factors including sun safety knowledge and quality of life after diagnosis have not been well studied, they said.

With this in mind, the investigators conducted a survey of white Hispanics and non-Hispanics treated for NMSC. The results were published as a research letter in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The investigators recruited 175 consecutive patients being treated for NMSC with Mohs surgery at a single center. The average age of the patients was 67 years; 58 identified as white Hispanic, 116 identified as white non-Hispanic.

Skin cancer quality of life scores were significantly higher (worse) among white Hispanic patients, compared with white non-Hispanic patients (9.7 vs. 6.0).

White Hispanic patients had significantly lower skin cancer knowledge scores, compared with white non-Hispanics (P = .003). White Hispanics were significantly more likely than white non-Hispanics to report never wearing hats (39% vs. 12%) and never wearing sunglasses (26% vs. 9%) for sun protection.

The findings were limited by the study population that included only residents of South Florida. However, the results highlight the need for “targeted patient education initiatives to bridge ethnic disparities regarding cancer knowledge and ultimately improve [quality of life] among Hispanic skin cancer suffers,” the investigators concluded.

The study received no outside funding. The investigators declared no conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Rajabi-Estarabadi A et al. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020 Feb 4. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.01.063.

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