Last year, I publisher a post about what African-Americans can do to prevent skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the top ten killers of African-Americans for one reason. Many of us believe that we are immune to skin cancer. While skin and breast cancer are most commonly associated with Caucasians, African-Americans have a higher death rate with both deceases because we have bought into the myths.
Lately, I’ve gotten behind on my magazines. As I was getting ready for bed I grab the July issue of Ebony only because I wanted to see who made the list of “50 Finest Hot Stars, Sexy Bodies!” (Kelly Rowland made the cover so of course I was interested…lol). As I flipped the pages in anticipation of reaching the artical I was looking for, another one caught my eye on the subject of skin skin. The opening line did its job, it was I eye catching. “Think black folks don’t need sunscreen? Think again. When we get skin cancer, studies show that we’re more likely to lose our lives from it.”
Every day we lose enough of our people to the jail systems, drug and alcohol abuse, and a countless number of senseless murders. Why do we have to add cancer- of any kind- to that list. Tiffany Blackwell’s story was very touching. If there is anything that can be learned from her story is that regardless of how fair skinned you may be cancer does not discriminate against age, race, creed, or gender much like a bullet don’t have a name on it.
Paying attention to the health of those around you – family that is- will tell you how much cancer you should give an issue. However, as Tiffany stated just using a sunscreen with a high spf can help you and yours fight off skin cancer before you find yourself in Tiffany’s position with a skin cancer posing as a pimple. She was blessed to have it removed before it became more then a pimple and led to something worse like a brain tumor with a 95% mortality rate. But you may not be that lucky. This is a conversation my family had to have with my then nine year niece as we prepared to embark upon two days of sun rich activities at our 2011 family reunion. Even at that age she had bought into the myth that sunscreen was not for our people. But she also understand the meaning of cancer and death. Now she reminds us to bring the sunscreen.