Regardless of one’s skin colour, everyone is still at risk of getting skin cancer. People of colour are not excluded here. According to a famous Associated Dermatologists it’s definitely a myth that African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans can’t get skin cancer. In fact, did you know that Bob Marley, a world-renowned Jamaican singer and songwriter, died from a rare kind of Melanoma? He passed away at just 36 years old due to this type of skin cancer.
While it’s true that people of colour are less likely to get skin cancer compared to Caucasians, when they do happen to get one, it’s much harder to treat it. What’s more is that people with colour will have a much more advanced type of skin cancer, which is most likely going to be fatal.
Luckily, melanoma is not that common. Around 75% of these cases are seen in skin areas that are not often exposed to the sun like mouth, genitals, soles, palms, toenails, and fingernails. For African Americans, around 30-40% of Melanoma occurs on the soles of their feet. Sometimes, they happen to be overlooked. That’s why their cases are diagnosed later on, in an already advanced stage.
These are some of the most common skin cancer types:
These can be diagnosed by a skin doctor of by skin cancer screening.
There are a lot of factors as to why skin cancer happens. Most of the time, exposure to ultraviolet rays and sunlight can lead to skin cancer. Sometimes, too much tanning can also cause this. In some cases, burn scars, a depressed immune system, albinism, chronic injury, and leg ulcers can play a major role in developing skin cancers.
While we can’t totally be in control of this, whether we’re Caucasian or a person of colour, it’s always a good idea to be careful by following these tips:
Being aware and cautious can significantly help us. In this way, we can protect ourselves from UVB and UVA rays, which can not only cause wrinkling but possibly skin cancer too.
That’s why it’s crucial that we use sunscreen at all times. Also, know when to reapply so that you won’t directly be exposed to the rays of the sun. It would also help if the sunscreen that you buy is water-resistant for added convenience and protection.
Find time to check all parts of your body. Look for dark spots or areas that are abnormal and are not healing. You can do this by standing in front of the mirror. To check your back, you can use a hand mirror so that you can have a full view of your backside.
If you notice something odd such as your skin itching, bleeding, or changing form and colour, don’t hesitate to visit your local GP or dermatologist or ask for a skin cancer screening test.
Skin cancer can happen to anyone, whether you’re a person of colour or not. So, it’s important that we become aware of this and find ways to lessen the chances of us getting one. Use the tips above to be guided; in this way, you’ll become much more informed.