Tanzanian women have been cautioned against ignorant use of chemicals to bleach their skins following a confirmed case of a woman melted after swallowing tablets to enhance her beauty. The caution was sounded in Dar es Salaam over the weekend by Dr. Dominista Kombe at a two-day media training forum to raise public awareness on evidence-based cancer information in the country. According to Dr Kombe, one woman (name withheld) who had taken tablets to bleach her skin died after her flesh turned into liquid form like ice cream and started dropping off. Dr Kombe is a consultant radiotherapist at Ocean Road Cancer Institute. The training was jointly organized by Medical Womens Association of Tanzania (MEWATA), Tanzania Public Health Association (TPHA) and The American Cancer Society (ACS). Asked why they were keeping the name of the victim secret, Dr Kombe said the deceased and her relatives were not ready to make the information public. As doctors, we are bound to respect the patients pleas, she said, adding that the incident was just one example of how bleaching affected women in the country. She said other negative effects of bleaching included women growing beards like men. According to the doctor, bleaching also caused cancer which was now rated the number three killer disease in Tanzania after malaria and HIV/Aids. Other medical practitioners who participated in the training include Ali Mzige, Alfred Kangolle, Mary Giattas and Sarah Maongezi they stressed that people should be careful before applying chemicals on their skins due to the fact that some of them were detrimental to health. The experts called on people to report to hospitals in time when they noticed skin lashes, abnormal body growth or pain instead of waiting until it was too late. Cited cases include abnormal growth of certain parts in ones body including children whose heads or limbs grow beyond the normal pattern. Medically, skin whitening (or bleaching) products are used for treating pigmentation disorders like freckles, pregnancy marks, blotchy uneven skin tone, patches of brown to gray skin and age spots. Skin pigmentation occurs because the body either produces too much or too little melanin, the pigment responsible for creating the colour of eyes, skin and hair. It also provides crucial protection against the suns rays by absorbing ultra-violet light. Doctors say that those with darker skin are less susceptible to sunburn and the overall effects of sun damage. According to dermatologists, skin bleaching can be achieved through a combination of treatments that reduce or block some amount of the bodys melanin production. Usually in the form of topical lotions, gels, pills and creams, these products contain melanin-inhibiting ingredients along with sunscreen. These treatments also contain amounts of hydroquinone, or mercury. World Health Organization (WHO) has already warned that skin diseases in developing countries have a serious impact on peoples quality of life, causing lost productivity at work and school, and discrimination due to disfigurement.Skin changes may also indicate the presence of more serious diseases that need treatments. SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN 21/12/2009 Dada zetu its time to wake up and appreciate vile mlivyoumbwa.