Are You Likely to Suffer from Skin Cancer?

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By Wonder Guchu WINDHOEK Namibians are more prone to skin cancer than to any other type of cancer. The Cancer Association of Namibia, which intends to launch the ‘Save Your Skin Campaign’ mid-October, says the disease can affect any one regardless of whether one has light, pink or dark skin. The association’s chief executive officer, Reinette Koegelenberg, this week said although there are no statistics at the moment, her organization was aware that skin cancer affects Namibians more than any other cancer. “Skin cancer is number one, and it can affect any Namibian,” she said, adding that it was wrong for people to think that this was a disease for the white-skinned people only. Ninety percent of the Namibian population is dark-skinned, while the remainder are either pink- or white-skinned. The ‘Save Your Skin Campaign’ which will run from mid-October until January next year, intends to alert people to the dangers of the sun, which is the major cause of skin cancer through its ultraviolet radiation, and how they could protect themselves from conditions that are likely to expose them to the disease. There are three types of skin cancer – basal-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma, the most dangerous one. In the carcinoma types, the skin develops red or pink bumps that usually bleed while in carcinoma, the bumps are brown, black, pink, blue or even white. Besides causing skin cancer, the sun can also cause premature aging of the skin and cold sores. In the United Kingdom alone, more than 2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 people die of skin cancer, while about 60ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 succumb to the disease worldwide every year, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease of Solar Ultraviolet Radiation estimates released in July this year. Of the 60ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 people, 48ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 die from the malignant melanoma. About 1,5 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYS) – which is the loss of the sum of years of potential life lost due to premature mortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability – go down the drain every year.