Q:

How is white skin affected by cancer?

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Quick Answer

People with white skin are much more vulnerable to skin cancer than those with darker skin, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, and there are additional risks for certain subtypes of cancer associated with very fair-skinned people. However, the Skin Cancer Foundation states that people of any skin color can develop skin cancer and that cancerous lesions are often diagnosed later in those with darker skin as opposed to those with lighter skin.

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Full Answer

There are six general types of skin in terms of cancer risk classified by the Skin Cancer Foundation based on the tendency to burn or tan after sun exposure associated with particular skin types. People with very white skin are most commonly considered type I individuals and are characterized by easily developing sunburn after sun exposure and never tanning. These individuals are at high risk for all types of skin cancer and are at particular risk for developing melanomas, a type of skin cancer considered among the deadliest by the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Some individuals with white skin may fall into the other skin types of the Skin Cancer Foundation classification system if they rarely experience sunburns or tan easily. These people are usually at lower risk of skin cancer in general as compared to type I individuals but are still susceptible to the disease. Some darker-skinned individuals are at higher risk than others of developing certain types of skin cancers in regions that are not normally exposed to the sun.

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