Think Tank

The ‘Dark’ Truth About Skin Cancer

A very common assumption is that dark skinned people are more susceptible to skin cancer. While skin colour alone cannot be a defining factor of who is more vulnerable to skin cancer, the presence of more melanin in the skin actually helps in protecting it to some extent. Read on to find out more.

Most skin cancers are caused due to overexposure to UV rays that can come from the sun, tanning beds, etc. Dark skinned people produce greater amounts of melanin. This melanin functions as an umbrella, preventing UV rays from penetrating to deeper layers of the skin, thus decreasing the risk of skin cancer. Now, this doesn’t mean that people with more melanin in their skin will never be affected by skin cancer. In fact, it is difficult to spot skin cancer in people who have a darker skin tone, which is why it can be more deadly.

Also, read about – 5 Tips To Protect Your Skin

The truth is that melanin can only take you so far. Irrespective of skin tone, using sunscreen and taking appropriate measures against overexposure can go a long way in preventing skin cancer. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of skin cancer, which include –

  • an unusual and persisting sore or skin growth
  • a waxy translucent bump or paling of a certain part of the skin (which may bleed during later stages of cancer)
  • A lump on the skin
  • Red scaly asymptomatic patches that develop slowly.
  • Abnormal growth of a preexisting or new mole with itching or bleeding.
  • Itchy red or skin coloured scaly patches on the covered parts of the body, especially in the elderly

If you notice any of these signs it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.

Read also – Learn More about Cancer

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