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Are You at Risk for Skin Cancer?

girl in blue and yellow bikini

Bikini top, $35, Diesel; bottoms (part of separate swimsuit), $136, Vix; ring, $48, Allison Daniel Designs.

Photo Credit: Chloe Webber/Chloe Webber

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Q: Am I at risk for skin cancer if I have medium-dark skin, tan easily, and have never burned?

A: Absolutely. The melanin in darker skin protects it mostly from the burning UVB rays but offers less protection from the UVA ones that penetrate deeper, causing not only photo-aging (wrinkles, sagging, and brown spots), but melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s actually the second-most common cancer in women ages 20 to 29. And Bob Marley died from it, which surprises people. Since cancer is often not suspected and therefore not diagnosed in darker-skinned people until it’s far along, there’s a higher fatality rate than for those with fair skin, who tend to get tested more regularly. Annual skin-cancer screenings and religious sunscreen use are critical for everyone.

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