Race, health and genetics tend to be strongly intertwined. Genetics and health are very strongly intertwined in that your genetics can determine your initial genetic make-up such as whether you are at high risk for diabetes or obesity. While your health acts upon your genetics by either adding to your predisposition for certain diseases or taking away from them such as a sedentary lifestyle increasing one’s risk for diabetes. Race or ethnicity plays a factor because many individuals of the same race tend to belong to the same socioeconomic status or have similar cultural habits that contribute or take away from the risk of certain diseases, such as lower socioeconomic level african-american people having a higher risk for diabetes due to the lack of access to healthy foods and health education. In white men and women skin cancer is much more prevalent than many other ethnicities. In the case of skin cancer among white males race, genetics and overall health seem to play large trends in the prevalence of the disease. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is strongly believed to be caused by prolonged exposure to UV light (CDC, 2014). Many forms of skin cancer, which is considered the most common form of cancer, can be benign (harmless) or malignant (tumorous-can spread to other tissues) (CDC, 2014). I believe the increased prevalence in white men and women is due to the shared lighter skin tone which does not absorb the harmful rays of the sun as well as some other races. Also, I feel that social determinants such as occupation play a huge role because they directly affect how long each individual may or may not be exposed to the sun. Genetic factors also play a major role in an individuals risk of getting skin cancer because high risks of diseases such as melanoma tend to follow trends.
Image credit – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Skin Cancer Rates by Race and Ethnicity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/race.htm (accessed July 10, 2014).
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Skin Cancer.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/ (accessed July 10, 2014).