India’s deep, dark complexion is on the rise, and it seems to be on the brink of becoming the new norm.
The country is set to see a rise in the number of dark-skinned individuals.
As India’s population continues to increase, more and more people are being asked to cover their skin to get the best results.
Many Indians are opting for the greying look in order to get a more natural appearance.
Some have even adopted dark hair and skin tone, or dark skin tone as a way to appear more natural.
But what does the word ‘dark’ mean in the context of dark complexion?
Indian experts have already been talking about how dark skin is an indicator of the presence of melanoma, a form of skin cancer that affects up to a third of the population.
The cancerous cells that form in the skin, and grow rapidly, are thought to play a crucial role in the progression of the disease.
Melanoma is the leading cause of cancer in India, with over 1,000 cases diagnosed in the country each year.
As the number is expected to increase over the next few years, so will the number who will suffer from the disease and need treatment.
“If you have darker skin you have more melanoma in your body,” says Dr. Sridharan Bhatia, an Indian dermatologist who runs the India Institute of Dermatology.
“That means you have a greater risk of developing this cancer.”
It’s important to note that these results are just an estimate.
“What we know from epidemiological studies is that melanoma is much more prevalent in darker-skinned people than in lighter-skinned ones, so they are much more at risk,” Bhatias adds.
The problem is, it’s not easy to get accurate melanoma tests in India.
“It’s not that simple,” says Bhati.
“People often don’t have access to a melanoma test.
You have to go to the hospital or to a dermatologist.”
“In some cases, a patient has to go into surgery and have their melanoma removed, or they have to have their skin cancer removed surgically,” says Rajesh.
“In many cases, there is no screening for melanoma because they have a dark complexion.”
As melanoma grows, so does the risk of death from the cancer.
And while melanoma screening is available in India today, it may not be available for years to come.
“As the country’s population grows, the number and frequency of melanomas is going up, which means there are more melanomas and more patients coming to the doctor to have tests,” says Rishi Nair, a dermatology expert and director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford.
“And as a result, there are increasing numbers of melanosis patients.
There’s a significant number of melanosarcomas in India and we’re going to see an increasing number of cases.”
Bhatiya is a part of a global network of Indian scientists and doctors working on a global effort to find a cure for melanomas.
The hope is that the discovery of a cure, and the removal of melanous lesions, will lead to the eradication of the condition.
The researchers are looking at a number of different treatments, from skin creams to topical treatments.
The team is also working on new genetic tests that will help doctors determine the risk factors for melanosis, such as melanoma mutations.
India is also the only country in the world that does not require a government-mandated screening test.
But it is still a risky proposition for many patients.
“I know a patient that went to the dermatologist, who had melanoma on the upper arm, and he had a blood test and it came back positive for melanocytic melanoma,” says Nair.
“The risk of that happening is very high.”
If melanoma can be found in India then it is unlikely that it will be detected by the standard melanoma testing.
Bhatius says the biggest challenge is that it is not easy for the medical community to test for melanous melanoma.
“Most of the patients are not willing to undergo a test,” he says.
“We don’t see the patients who are actually suffering from the melanoma and we don’t want to test them.”
But as the country continues to grow, more people will be asking for the answers they are looking for.
And the answer to why darker skin is more likely to lead to melanoma could be a good sign for the future.
“There are a lot of different factors that influence the melanocytosis risk, so we need to know what’s the risk,” says Shanti Nair from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.
“So, what is the risk, and what is this risk?”