Advertisement

Why are people with vitiligo more likely to develop skin cancer?

People with vitiligo are more likely to develop skin cancer because patches of their skin have lost the pigment, melanin, that protects the skin against the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays (ultraviolet rays). Often, people with vitiligo were more sensitive to the sun than other people even before developing skin patches. Certain treatments for vitiligo (for example, oral psoralen photochemotherapy (oral PUVA)) may also increase the likelihood that a person will develop skin cancer.

This does not mean that everyone with vitiligo will develop skin cancer; many people will not. It does, however, mean that people with vitiligo should be careful about how much sun exposure they get and take measures to protect themselves from too much sun. People with vitiligo should also see a dermatologist and opthamologist regularly to ensure that their skin and eyes continue to be healthy.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
People with vitiligo may be more at risk for skin cancer if they receive certain treatments for this condition. Vitiligo causes the body to lose pigment, which is the substance that gives skin its natural color. Doctors may treat vitiligo with a combination of the drug psoralen and light therapy. This combination may increase the risk for skin cancer. A dermatologist can help you to understand the benefits and risks of all treatments for vitiligo.

Continue Learning about Skin Disorders Basics

What natural sun spot remedies can I try?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Lemon juice applied twice a day is a common home remedy. But be extra careful when in the sun: The l...
More Answers
Are sun spots benign?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Usually, yes. Sun spots are benign most of the time, but you should consult a doctor about any irreg...
More Answers
Will my stretch marks stay this red?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
No, stretch marks fade over time, losing much of their vibrant color.
More Answers
Why Do I Get Sun Spots?
Why Do I Get Sun Spots?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.