Debunking Some Myths Surrounding Skin Cancer

Posted on: 20 May 2016

Although skin cancer can be potentially deadly, early detection would give you greater chances at beating it. However, not many people know much about skin cancer leading to numerous myths surrounding this illness. The better informed you are about this disease, the better your chances of not developing it in the first place. The following are some skin cancer myths debunked.

Myth 1: Darker skin is immune to skin cancer

One common misconception has is that only individuals with light skin will be susceptible to developing skin cancer. The truth of the matter though is that although the increased melanin in darker skin provides these individuals with additional protection from the harmful UV rays, it does not mean that darker skinned individuals are immune to skin cancer. Everyone, regardless of the colour of their skin, has to take extra precaution when spending extended periods of time in the sun. The best way to do this is through using a sunscreen with an SPF rating that is suitable for your individual skin type. It should also be noted that skin cancer tends to be harder to diagnose in people with darker skin as the discolouration may not be detectable easily. This can lead to late diagnosis. Therefore, it is prudent for darker skinned individuals to regularly check for any abnormalities on their skin, and a dermatologist should inspect anything suspicious.

Myth 2: Sunscreen is unnecessary in cloudy weather

Another misconception people have is that as long as it's a cloudy day, then they are safe, as they will not be exposed to the sun. The truth of the matter, though, is that just because you cannot see the sun does not mean its radiation is not reaching your skin. The harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun are capable of penetrating the clouds. Spending extended periods of time outdoors albeit in cloudy weather still puts you at risk of exposure to these UV rays. If you are regularly outdoors on a daily basis, it is still prudent to apply some sunscreen despite the weather being cloudy.

Myth 3: Regular tanning reduces your susceptibility to skin cancer

Granted, people who regularly tan will have a darker skin shade than their normal skin colour. However, this does not mean that you have increased the levels of melanin in your skin. Therefore, tanning does not reduce your susceptibility to skin cancer. If anything, regular tanning damages the epidermis. This means you could be at an even higher risk of skin cancer if you do not take the appropriate precautions when spending extended periods of time outdoors.