Mon. May 20th, 2019

#WeCanCERvive: Skin Cancer Might Just be a Skin Bleach Away

Congratulations to all of us. There is the release of a big time Marvel Studios movie coming out in less than two weeks starring our very own Oscar Winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o. It is The Black Panther.

In addition to that, our favorite band and Kenyan hit makers representing us world wide, have released the track Melanin that is causing a stir and suddenly we dark girls can’t sit still. No one can.

The other day I read a friend’s Whatsapp status (she’s light skinned), Hii jua vile ni kali, naona nikipata melanin soon. Do we get melanin from being exposed to the sun for ten minutes?

She meant that she will automatically turn dark because she walked to the shop and back. Under the scorching sun. After all that Biology in high school. Surely? Come on Melanie.

Obviously she had decided to hype the melanin vibe yet she did not understand what it really is. Keeping up with the trends. We have experienced this with Shape of you, Despacito… Only time determines our vocabulary.

It is as if we are coming to terms with our ‘melanin so dark’ skin. That still is besides the point here but shout out to all of us. With these two modes of entertainment, a movie and a song (music), we are finally aware we are dark. Or black.

Melanin is the pigment that gives human skin, hair and eyes their colour. It is produced by cells known as melanocytes. The ratio in dark skinned people is more than in those of light skinned.

The world is celebrating Cancer Day. Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells in the body. It is usually named after the body part it affects hence the names of the body parts then cancer.

For example brain cancer affects the cells in the brain.

There are many types of cancer such as breast cancer for both men and women, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer (no one is safe men). Research shows that prostate cancer now affects and ends up killing more men then women who die of breast cancer.

The type of cancer we seem to ignore the most is skin cancer. As white people scramble for the beaches to get sun tans and somehow reap the benefits of melanin, we are running towards bleaching.

They understand that skin colour and cancer risk go hand in hand but we don’t. We therefore defy our genes and get ourselves lighter, in the process damaging our protective cover by thinning our skin and raising our chances of being diagnosed with skin or blood cancer!

There are various forms but Melanoma is the most serious. We are all at risk of developing it although highest risk factors are: elevated exposure to the sun, family history, skin type and the number of moles on the skin.

Luckily, melanoma is curable when detected in its early stages, failure to which it could advance to other body parts making it harder to get full treatment. It might not be the most ordinary of diseases but it is in the brackets of the deadliest.

Remember Skin Deep: We are more than our pigment.

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