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The most common kind of cancer is skin cancer, affecting some 500,000 Americans yearly. But out of all the types of cancer there is, it is the most curable. About ninety five percent of people who have skin cancer are cured by drugs or surgery.
“Sunlight is regarded as a causative factor in more than 10% of skin cancers,” stated Lamberg. Skin cancer is the most serious consequence of over exposure to the sun. It is a delayed effect that usually doesn’t appear for many years. Since sun damage may not be immediately visible, many people don’t realize the dangers of tanning. Dr. Vivienne Nathanson said, “A Suntan isn’t a sign of good health, a tan even where there is no burning, always means that the skin has been damaged. Suntan isn’t nature’s own sunscreen.” A tan thickens the skin enabling it to tolerate the sun longer without burning but it does not offer full protection.
A few serious sunburns can increase a person’s risk for skin cancer. The lighter a person’s natural skin color is, the more likely he or she is to burn. Melanin in greater of lesser amounts is what separates skin types and determines how a person can handle the sun. People who stay out too long can get a burn that just as severe as one caused by a fire of boiling water. Ultraviolet B rays causes sunburn, but ultraviolet A rays are more harmful. It alone may lead to skin cancer. It actually damages the connective tissue at deeper levels.
Sunbeds first became popular in the 1970’s and have become a boom industry ever since. Surveys have shown that in the 16-34 age group, at least one person in four has used a sunbed. It is twice as popular with women than men to use a sunbed. Some people think that using tanning beds is safer than actually going out in the sun. That is not true. Leading doctors say, “All sunbed users should be given a compulsory warning that they are putting themselves at increased risk of skin cancer.” The chances of developing some tumors more than double with frequent sunbed use. “Occasional use can result in cancer, prematurely aged skin, eye damage, and suppression of the immune system,” Hope wrote. Other effects of too much sun are adverse reactions to certa drugs, which results in rashes, loss of skin color and photosensitivity.
Skin Cancer develops on the face, ears, neck, and the backs of hands, or any place where clothing does not cover the body. In the book Skin Disorders, it says that, “Most skin cancers are found in people who are over the age of 40. However, skin cancer may develop in children, teenagers, and young adults.” Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. It causes 7,400 deaths in a year in the United States. Melanoma is only fatal if it is not treated early. The appearance of melanoma often develops in an existing mole that changes size, shape, or color. Treatment involves cutting out the growth and a small border of adjacent skin. Another form of treatment is electrodescian, which is another name for zapping the growth with an electric needle. It can grow downward invading healthy tissue and spread to the lymph nodes and internal organs. People are at a higher risk of developing melanoma, if a relative also developed it.
Basal-cell cancers are the most common form of skin cancers. It accounts for about 70% of total cases. But it is the most easy to treat. They usually occur where the sun strikes the hardest, on the face and the neck. According to Lamberg, “Basal-cell often start as a small bump and later grow wider and more elevated, often with a depression in the center. Their color is similar to that of normal skin, although their surface is shiny of pearly and run through with tiny blood vessels.”
A lot of the people today who have skin cancer admit that when they were younger they would bathe in the sun for long periods of time. Getting a tan is especially popular with teenagers and young adults. Creighton says, “Even with warnings about sun exposure, teens are soaking up rays to get the perfect tan.” Alan Geller, APHA member, stated, “The notion of a tan is really a driving behavior, it’s worth getting burned to get a tan.” in the Nation’s Health article. A tan may look great now, but 0 years from now the skin will become lined and leathery. People were more careful of the sun in the past. In the 10’s a person’s risk of getting malignant melanoma was 1 out of 1, 500. The chance of getting malignant melanoma now is 1 out of 18 people. One out of seven people in the United States will develop some form of skin cancer.
Regular use of sunscreen during the first 18 years will reduce the risk of skin cancer by 78%. Clothes, hats, and sunglasses protect the skin from the sun. Sunscreen with sun protection factor of 15 or higher is recommended. It is also a good idea to limit sun exposure during the peak hours between 10-11 a.m.
Creighton, Jessica. “Teens ignoring health risks of obtaining the “perfect tan.” Nation’s Health. Aug 2004.
Hope, Jenny. “Warning.” Daily Mail. 11 Apr 2001
Lamberg, Lynne. Skin Disorders. New York. Chelsea House Publishers.
Lewis, Carol. “Sunning for Science.” FDAConsumer. Nov/Dec 2006.
Pemble, Louise. “On the Table-Melanoma.” The Australian.
Simons, Paul. “Weather Eye.” The Times. 1 March 2000
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