Ask the Doctor
November 9, 2010
Can sunbathing increase your risk of skin cancer?

Dear Doc,

My girlfriend is an Albino and loves to wear her bikini swimsuit and sunbathe. Can that increase her risk of skin cancer?{{more}}


Dear Trevor,


All skin colours can develop cancer after repeated and longer exposure to sunshine. It is a fact that Caucasians (white people) are diagnosed at a higher rate with skin cancers than negroid (black people). Two factors that must be entertained are skin colour and behavior.

There is some protection from the sun to persons who have black skin. It must be noted that this protection is not all over the body, as areas like around the eyes and neck are still susceptible to developing cancer.

The next reason that favours the increased rate of white people developing skin cancers is the fact that many like to expose their naked skin to the sun to develop a darker skin colour when they tan. Whereas most black-skinned people would head for the shade due to the sun, whites will rather endure the sun and heat to get a tan.

Your girlfriend is an albino and though not Caucasian, she is in essence white and does not have the added protection from the dark pigmentation of her skin. She is making a serious blunder that she can pay a hefty price for later.

All albinos must take extra precaution in protecting their skin from exposure to the sun. The chance of an albino developing skin cancer is significant higher when compared to non-albinos.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.


Phone: 526-7036