There is a common misconception about skin cancer that needs to be corrected for the protection of everyone. The myth is that only fair-skinned people can get skin cancer and that black skin is immune because of its dark pigment. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Dispelling the myth about skin cancer
Although fair-skinned people might burn more easily when exposed to the sun's rays, the truth is that anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of the color of their skin. Young, old, male, female, light skin and dark skin -- no one is immune to skin cancer. It doesn't work that way.
First, exposing skin to harmful UV sun rays can increase risk of skin cancer in anyone, regardless of the color of their skin. Second, there are more causes of skin cancer than just sun exposure. Here are some.
Causes of skin cancer
- UV rays from sunlight
- Medical conditions or medications that weaken the body's immune system
- Bumps and scars on the skin can turn cancerous
The bottom line is that African Americans and others with dark skin are just as capable of developing skin cancer as whites. The recommendation from The National Cancer Institute is for everyone to limit their exposure to the sun and wear protective covering when outside, including sunscreen on the skin and sunglasses to protect the eyes.
Two important facts to remember
The first thing to remember is that early detection is very important in order to successfully treat skin cancer. The other important fact is that dangerous exposure to the sun, which increases the risk for skin cancer, includes tanning beds and sun lamps.
Don't take a chance on skin cancer. Find out the causes and know what to look for by visiting www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/skin/anyone-can-get-skin-cancer