Black by Choice?

Paul M Sheldon psheldon at
Wed Sep 21 00:06:46 EST 1994

	I have two acquaintances with cancer, one of whom I know has skin 
cancer of the face and has a surgery bill of $1200 every two months. She 
stays out of the sun.

	The other would like to avoid sun even though she had already 
contracted cancer because she is told to cut down on her roentgens after 
her radiation therapy.

	So, both dread direct sunlight.

	I inquired of a number of black outdoors workmen if they were 
afraid of direct contact of sunlight or they felt their people were more 
immune. Two claimed that perhaps they had an increased level of 
confidence against skin cancer from exposure to the sun. There evidently 
is an African origin theory and perhaps, I thought, when white people 
migrated to the north, where the sunlight was less direct, they lost the 
need for skin pigmentation.

	If skin color were to protect from UV and therefore radiation 
overdose of somebody getting radiation therapy, might one consider a 
change of skin color? Might a person wish to have their skin become black 
after getting skin cancer? Lives someday may be at stake.

	Have there been scientific studies (actually studying, not just 
statistical incidence of cancer due to skin color before cancer) of the 
value of ---changing--- skin color after cancer. Might there be a way for 
a person to become black?  I seem to remember that there is a way 
described in a movie or book some years ago where a fellow changed his 
skin color to see what would happen.

	My question is if there is as much benefit to being black as 
using umbrellas or staying in doors after you get skin cancer. Has 
changing skin color been tried? Can it be done?

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