In Canada, the prevalence of melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, is rising. From 2020 to 2021, diagnoses grew by almost 8%, and Nova Scotia has one of the highest rates in the nation.
A melanoma diagnosis was nearly always fatal not long ago. The success rates of new targeted therapies have greatly increased. The current five-year net survival rate for Canadians is 89%.
Dr. Yinka Akin-Deko, a doctor at Cole Harbour, claims that the Black population is not benefiting from the higher survival rate.
According to Dr. Akin-Deko, “We know from the U.S. statistics that Black people are less likely to develop skin cancer.” But she further reiterated that there are two sides to this coin. Black individuals have a low incidence of skin cancer, but their death rate is substantially greater.
There haven’t been as many melanoma awareness programs for persons with darker skin tones because the disease is less common among them. This may lead to later diagnosis and raise the risk of developing melanoma in a later stage, which has a higher mortality rate.
Misinformation also exists on the extent of natural melanin protection that people with Black or Brown skin may have from the sun. Although it is true that darker skin tones offer an SPF of 2 to 15, this is insufficient. All skin tones should wear (and reapply every two to four hours) a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that shields against UVA and UVB rays.
For further information on sun safety, she cites the effective Australian health campaign Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide. SLIP on a shirt; SLOP on sunscreen; SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat; SEEK shade;
SLIDE on sunglasses.
Although it may require additional effort to obtain the correct sunscreen, these kinds of sun safety advice are simple to follow. The majority of sunscreens on the market, according to her, are not designed for darker skin tones. It frequently leaves a white, gray, or blue tinge.
Noting the expanding number of sunscreens accessible online, she advises persons with Black or dark skin to look for creams that have been specially developed for them.
Find out more on these tips at https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/healthy-living/sun-protection
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