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If I have albinism, will I get skin cancer?

Albinism, in its many forms, is the lack of production of certain components of melanin, a chemical produced by melanocytes, or the pigment producing cells of the skin. Melanin has some protective benefit in guarding against skin cancer, and generally speaking, the more darkly a person’s skin is pigmented, the less likely they are to develop certain types of skin cancer. In answer to the question, having albinism does not mean absolutely that that person will develop skin cancer, but their individual risk is substantially higher than individuals without albinism. It is, therefore, very important for individuals with albinism to be very cautious with sun exposure; to avoid peak hours of sun exposure, wear protective clothing, use sunscreen, and avoid tanning beds.

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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.