In Africa, skin cancer is the leading cause of death among people with albinism, ending their lives dramatically at an early age. Prevention is essential. In Africa, sunscreen saves lives.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest prevalence of albinism in the world.
  • The solar radiation is 10 times more intense than in Europe
  • 1 dermatologist for 3.5 million people
  • 90% death rate before the age of 30 due to skin cancer
  • 100% of minors under the age of 20 present precancerous lesions.
  • 1 cancer treatment institution for 10 million inhabitants

EVOLUTION OF SOLAR DAMAGE TO THE SKIN OF PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM

Because of genetic factors, people with albinism do not produce melanin, the natural photoprotector that protects us from ultraviolet radiation. Therefore they are extremely prone to develop skin lesions as a result of sun damaged skin.

With temperatures that often exceed 30 ° C and with jobs that mostly take place outdoors, the risk of developing skin cancer among people with albinism in Africa is extremely high. In addition, the scarce information that is offered causes a deep ignorance on the condition that, added to the generalized discrimination, make  the access to health services difficult.

Skin cancer is known as the silent murderer, since the initial symptoms usually go unnoticed, leading to a late diagnosis and a worsening of the prognosis; especially among people with albinism from African contexts.

Cáncer de piel albinos
1

Sun burn

So many hours outdoors in the scorching sun makes them suffer several sunburns throughout their lives, greatly increasing the risk of skin cancer from a very early age.
2

Actinic Keratosis

These small scaly patches on the skin exposed to the sun are the consequence of repeated sunburns and can progress to skin cancer.
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2

Actinic Keratosis

These small scaly patches on the skin exposed to the sun are the consequence of repeated sunburns and can progress to skin cancer.
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3

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the leading cause of death among people with albinism, who suffer from advanced skin cancer between thirty and forty years of age. Poverty and inadequate dermatological services limit their life expectancy.

Poverty and a lack of awareness generally prevent access for people with albinism to health services, which are generally inadequate and scarce. With less than 1 dermatologist for every 3,5 million inhabitants and with poor diagnostic and treatment means, many sub-Saharan countries do not have sufficient capacity to adequately treat skin diseases. This, combined with the lack of prioritization of national health systems in the field of albinism and dermatology, has led to the current incidence of skin cancer of an epidemic nature among Africans with albinism.