New Album Flesh + Blood Buy Now

The Plight of People with Albinism – Skin Cancer Rates

Plight – A dangerous, difficult, or otherwise unfortunate situation

As I learn more about the plight of Tanzanians with albinism, I feel the term “plight” is not quite harsh enough.  Yes, PWA’s (persons with albinism) lives are filled with dangerous, difficult, and unfortunate situations, but those terms don’t bring enough weight and gravity to the issue.  Let me explain their situation so you can understand what I mean.

Epidemic Rates of Fatal Skin Cancer

  • In East Africa, nearly 1 in every 2000 people is affected with albinism.  In North America and Europe, this number is 1 in 20,000.
  • These East African PWA’s are very susceptible to skin cancer because of the lack of pigment in their skin.
  • Most PWA’s in East Africa do not have proper clothing or sunscreen due to the poor economic conditions surrounding them.
  • The life span for a PWA in Tanzania is 30 years.
  • Only 2% of PWA’s in Tanzania live beyond the age of 40.
  • In contrast, the life expectancy of PWA’s in places of adequate healthcare is nearly the same as the general population.

These statistics are humbling.  It’s amazing that meeting a simple need such as providing sunscreen or proper clothing can increase the life span of a PWA.  It’s not right that needs this small would keep children from living past the age of 30.

Unfortunately, these epidemic rates of skin cancer only touch the surface of the challenges facing PWAs.  Check back again as I will continue to explain the plight of people with albinism in East Africa.

  • @jasonpoe on Instagram