Skin Cancer Among Caucasians

I identify most with skin cancer among Caucasians, especially since my skin is so ghostly pale and I feel more susceptible to the sun’s rays. I think skin cancer is so prevalent among Caucasians because our lighter skin is easier for UV rays to penetrate. There is a reason that the native populations along the equator generally have dark skin. This is because these populations produce more melanin which makes their skin darker. The darkness of their skin is more difficult for UV rays to penetrate which protects these populations from massive death counts for cancer. Their skin is a naturally adapted and evolved trait that enables them to live in extremely hot climates. African Americans that have strayed from these climates may have lost some of this protection, but I believe that they still have a large advantage over Caucasians.

skin cancer

Race cannot be scientifically determined, it is more a matter of self-identification, so it really has no sound structure in the determination of one’s health. Race is helpful in discovering possible ancestry to determine one’s health, but it is very subjective. There may be genetic clustering in different areas of the world, but this may be just as much a result of the environment as of race. Race cannot account for all the complexities of human genetic variation. Genetics, on the other hand, is a large, scientifically-proven component in one’s health. A disease may be inherited through generations and may plague one particular population, not because of race, but simply because they are a native people that have never expanded outside of their immediate area. This may more often be the case in cultures near a continental barrier that physically prevents their expansion such as the Himalayas or the Sahara desert. Many scientists have also shown that genetic distance is strongly related to geographic distance between populations. There is clearly a geographic structure to human genetic variation that holds greater weight than race.

Skin Cancer Foundation. “Skin Cancer and Skin of Color.” Accessed July 10, 2014. http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/skin-cancer-and-skin-of-color

Gravlee, Clarence C. “How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality.” American Journal of Physical Anthropology 139 (2009): 47-57.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Drew Selden says:

    I definitely like how you finished your explanation with the inference that geography held a greater weight than race when it came to genetic variation and health. I always thought of it it as a causal relationship, like the geography of the land where certain races lived gave rise to the different races we can distinguish today.
    Well after learning in week 2 that there is no major biological difference between races I feel that using the racial categories in clinical studies is pretty useless in regards to health and lifestyle decision making. However, they are still a good marketing tool to trick and manipulate the uninformed and sadly making money in this country has always been more important than the health of an individual.

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