If you find yourself in the category of individuals who, while watching the News, discover that there is—yet again—a new medical malady to be leery of; if you are wondering if the latest disease has any bearings on your life; if you are wondering what it might possibly “look like on you,” then listen up! Even though you are receiving pound after pound of scary information in vivid detail about what symptoms to look for when assessing potentially life threatening conditions, please note: Some of this information may or may not actually apply to you!

For example, melanoma. Whereas I am certain that individuals of color are sometimes stricken with this terrible disease, I would surmise that the vast majority of individuals afflicted are Caucasian, Asian, white Hispanics and/or other “fair-skinned” groups of people. So why the herd call as if we all have the same risks factors or the same requirements for prevention of every ill? And, when illnesses or diseases truly affect the masses, why are we given one-sided information that tells only one side of the story and gives symptoms for only “some” of the affected individuals? Simply stating that symptoms include “paleness” or even “redness” depending on how richly colored individuals are is insufficient at best! Whereas these symptoms might help Caucasians or other light-skinned individuals,they mean absolutely nothing to individuals of color who will never appear truly “pale” until their conditions have worsened almost to the point of death.

Think of sickle cell anemia. While it does affect people of all races, It would be negligent to discuss sickle cell in catastrophic terms for all races when, in fact, it mainly affects African Americans?

Even if we have overlapping diseases such as STDs and cancers, why not acknowledge racial and ethnic differences and let individuals on all parts of the color spectrum know what they should be looking for on their colored skin? This would be a real acknowledgement that people of color reside on this earth and that different people may have very different needs!

Can anybody hear me?

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