Skin Cancer in Caucasians

Line charts showing the changes in melanoma of the skin incidence rates for males and females of various races and ethnicities.

Race has been a big subject in history, it has been a major idea in reasoning the differences between different “kinds” of people, but it also has been a connection to genetics and health. Over time there has been shown to be certain diseases or illnesses that are more prevalent in certain races. There have been many theories of why this is so, it all started with some sort of mutation that caused the significant change. Usually this mutation will happen in one random person in any race and then go through natural selection if it has some sort of attribute that makes it easier to survive and pass on the trait to your offspring. As shown with the thrifty genotype, during times of famine, Pima Native Americans with the mutation were able to store sugars into fats more easily. This trait spread through genetic drift or gene flow to today, in which now that food is not scarce yet they still store sugar into fat which leads to obesity and in turn diabetes. This one race of people has the mutation locked into its genetic pool so that a certain percentage of Pima Native Americans have the gene.

I chose skin cancer in Caucasians; it is so prevalent in Caucasians because of the light color of skin. Since Caucasians skin are so light, they are hit with more of the Ultra Violet radiation then other people of darker skin. Since they are hit by more of the Ultra Violet radiation they get more mutations forced into their DNA and causes a higher chance of skin cancer to be made. A reason Caucasian people might be willing to have the chance of skin cancer is because in our society it is more socially acceptable or attractive for Caucasians to have a darker skin color in comparison to just white. Genetically Caucasians are more predisposed to getting skin cancer mainly in the fact that their skin does not reflect the Ultra Violet radiation, it just absorbs it and causes the mutations.

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 11, 2014).

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