It just goes to show anyone can get skin cancer. Even if you have a dark skin tone you are not immune. Skin cancer in Singapore has risen.
Young people are discovering this. They thought to some extent because of their skin tone they didn’t have to be too concerned. And were somewhat shocked when diagnosed with a skin cancer.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes and not for diagnosis. More details.
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The individuals in this article had enjoyed many activities outdoors. These were done with little thought to protection from sun’s rays. Most of us have probably done this before.
Could There be Sun Myths?
Skin cancer does not discriminate with your age either. From the article one person thought skin cancer was a condition for the elderly with a family history. These two younger people discovered a changing mole that was actually Basal Cell Carcinoma.
This type of skin cancer is typically slower in developing. UVA and UVB rays can damage your skin no matter how healthy or active you are.
Skin Cancer Facts:
- Skin cancer can affect anyone
- Everyone needs protection from harmful rays
- Skin cancer is difficult to spot the darker your skin
What is Singapore?
Singapore can claim to be a city, island and country. This is the only place in the world that can do this. It is officially the Republic of Singapore.
The Republic of Singapore became an independent republic in August of 1965 after being expelled from Malaysia.
Singapore is a city found in the Southern part of the mainland. It is located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. Something like 85 miles north of the equator.
Singapore resembles a diamond shape island along with about 60 small islets. The main island spreads around 18 square miles of this area combined. This is also separated to the north from Peninsula Malaysia by Johor Strait.
Johor Strait more than half a mile in length is a narrow channel. It is crossed by a road and rail causeway. On its southern side the state goes through Singapore Strait. Here is where a part of Indonesia forms.
Outliers of the Rian-Lingga Archipelago are found. This goes in about 10 miles of the main island.
Singapore and the Sun
During the year Singapore’s ultraviolet radiation has one of the highest levels. This is in the world. Skin experts have pointed out the importance of sun protection.
Taking precautions still haven’t seemed to catch on. More young people are becoming involved with outdoor sports and activities along with holidays on the beach. This article states due to the lax attitude skin cancer diagnosis has gone up the past 50 years.
Singapore is a region in Southeast Asia. This is in the equatorial monsoon region. The climate there usually has high temperatures and mainly precipitation that is constant during the year.
The monthly average temperature goes from 81 degrees in June to 77 degrees during January. Because Singapore has a maritime location and regular humidity the temperatures are somewhat moderate. Only 97 degrees was the highest temperature in record.
People of Singapore
There is a diverse population in Singapore predominate by Chinese. The next largest ethnic group is Malays and Indians the third. Most of the Chinese came from Fujian province and their dialect is Amoy (Xiamen).
Malays consist of Indonesians speaking Javanese, Boyanese as well as other dialects. Indians are more diverse with Tamils, Malayalis and Sikhs. In addition, there are Pakistani and Sinhalese groups.
Four official languages are recognized with this ethnic diversity:
- Mandarin Chinese
Biggest Risk Factor
The biggest risk factor of getting skin cancer with these younger people is due to sun exposure.
Singaporeans enjoying the outdoors put themselves at a greater risk for skin cancer by not practicing sun protection. This is something we all need to learn.
In dark skin the increased numbers of melanin do help with protection from sun’s rays. However, darker skin, due to extended periods of time can result with sunburn. This later leads to sun damage and possibly cancer.
Skin Cancers Asians are Prone to
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Merkel cell carcinoma
- Sebaceous gland carcinomas
- Back of the hands
Singapore’s most common melanoma subtype is called acral lentiginous melanoma. It’s ironic that these are found across palms of hands, soles of the feet and underneath nails, usually protected. Melanoma spreads to other areas by way of the bloodstream and lymph system.
Asians Skin and Sun Exposure
Asians are prone to developing melasma as well. It is linked to a higher production of melanin. This happens with over exposure to sun.
Asians in certain areas may have fairer skin. This means they can also burn easily. If you have lighter skin the more at risk you are for skin cancers.
Even if you don’t burn UV rays can harm your skin. In darker skin sometimes a sun burn isn’t red however, tight, painful or just hot when touched.
Therefore using sunscreen and avoiding the sun is still recommended. Everyone should also know the risk factors in addition the ABCDEs. Those spending a great deal of time outdoors should also see your dermatologist annually for a skin cancer screening.
This skin disorder is common. Especially, in 15% to 50% of pregnant women who will get it. More often this occurs during a woman’s reproductive years.
Melasma may be triggered by sun exposure. This causes a darkening of the facial skin. More commonly these brown patches appear on the forehead, cheeks, nose and lip.
Because melanocytes produce skin color and are stimulated through the suns UV rays. Melasma can be very easy to activate. It is recommended to wear broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 35 or more.
Ethnic groups with higher numbers are:
- East Asians; Japanese, Korean, Chinese
- Middle eastern and Mediterranean-African
What Does Melanin do?
The shade of your skin is determined by your blood flowing through, diet and the melanocytes making melanin. People usually have the same number of these cells. However the melanin amount made is different.
Melanin does provide some natural protection from UVB rays. While dark skin is believed to have a natural SPF of 13.4 versus light skin at SPF only at 3.4. Sunscreen with SPF 15 will block out UVB rays at just 93%.
Melanin acts as a shield to protect your skin from the sun. Its production increases due to sun exposure. These melanocytes need time to make melanin to protect you.
This is why you tan. When they can’t work fast enough to make you tan the sun ray’s burn you instead. This leaves skin looking pink or very red and angry.
To clarify, this is the natural defense mechanism by your body against sun burn.
So even if your skin is darker skipping that sunscreen still exposes your skin to harmful rays.
Later in life sun damage appears. You will also have a higher risk towards skin cancer. This is the important of sun protection.
Wrapping it up
Skin cancer is not discriminating. It can affect anyone. Your skin color and age doesn’t matter.
Over exposure of the sun can cause sun burn in any skin color. Being in the sun for repeated long periods can cause sun damage and possibly skin cancer. You need to protect your skin so it can remain healthy.
Don’t be lax in your protection against the sun. If possible practice avoiding the sun as much as you can. You skin can only do so much to protect you.
Have you been to Singapore?
Header Photo by Adhitya Andanu from pexels