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“Black don’t crack”, but what about Skin Cancer?

Updated: Feb 7, 2021

Did you know

Exposure to the sun, particularly harmful UV light, can cause fine lines, wrinkles, skin damage and age spots (also known as photo-aging). Although the results of photo-aging are less prominent in black people (and delayed), as the old saying goes “Black don’t crack”, but that doesn’t mean Skin Cancer cannot develop.

Skin Cancer is a health issue that is more common in people with Caucasian skin tones, versus African and Afro-Caribbean people (link). This is largely a result of the melanin in darker skin tones, which filters twice as much UV light, than Caucasian skin (link).

What are the impacts to black people…

Whilst melanin provides some protection from the sun, this doesn’t mean that African and Afro-Caribbean skin tones are immune to Skin Cancer. Studies show that when a black person is diagnosed with Skin Cancer it tends to be at a later stage compared to the stage that a Caucasian person would receive a diagnosis (link). This has an affect on survival rates.

It is believed to be that there is less awareness on the prevalence of skin cancer amongst black people, leading to less examinations for skin cancers (link) and untimely diagnosis at a later stage.

What is the key take away

Whilst the results of photo-aging is less severe in black people and delayed, black does crack…so we should be regularly asking our health care providers to check for any abnormal skin pigmentation and using a sunblock daily – check with your physician on which factor is best for your skin - don’t let it get too far, stop it in its tracks!

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