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Healthy and Fit? Why You May Still Be at Risk for Skin Cancer

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"With my skin color, I didn't think I needed to worry."

Ayren Jackson-Cannady, 29, FITNESS associate beauty editor
Scan says: "Ayren has a spot on her ear that shows she's had significant sun exposure," Dr. Hale says. Though not malignant, it's a reminder that the protective melanin in Ayren's darker skin doesn't fully shield her from damage. "She has a burn history, and she was a lifeguard," says Dr. Hale. "Both factors more than double Ayren's risk, regardless of her skin color."

The next step: Along with the usual SPF 30 mandate, "Ayren needs to put sunblock on her ears when exercising outdoors," Dr. Hale says. "Squamous cell carcinoma, another nonmelanoma cancer, is often detected on ears." For daily use, her SPF-laced moisturizer is fine. As long as Ayren continues to scrutinize mole changes -- and regularly check her nails, palms, and soles (cancer hot spots for African Americans because of lighter skin in those areas) -- she can visit her derm every two to three years.

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