INTRODUCTION: Skin cancer represents the most commonly diagnosed cancer, occuring more often than lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. it generally develops in the epidermis (the outer layer of skin), so a tumor is usually clearly visible.
Left untreated, skin cancers can be very dangerous, but with early detection and intervention most are curable. There are three common types of skin cancer, each of which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises. More than 1 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in 2008.
CAUSE: Skin cancer is an abnormal growth on the skin which can have many causes. It is often caused by exposing skin to UV rays excessively. Cancers caused by Ultraviolet exposure may be prevented by avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight or other UV sources, and wearing sun-protecting garments.
Many people go out of their way to get an artificial tan before they leave for a sunny vacation, because they want to get a “base coat” to prevent sun damage. Sunburn, caused by a type of ultraviolet (UV) light known as UVB, has served as a surrogate for far more serious conditions like melanoma and basal and squamous cell carcinoma, three forms of skin cancer.
RISK: Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the chance of developing skin cancer, the risk of developing it can be reduced significantly using the following steps: reducing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, especially in the childhood years, avoiding sunburns (NOTE: New studies have shown that sunscreen does not offer protection from melanoma). Although it is generally accepted that Ultraviolet exposure is the greatest risk factor in melanoma development, some skeptics say that there is no actual proven data that links moderate exposure to the sun with the appearance of melanoma.
The chances of acquiring skin cancer is also affected by where a person lives. People who live in areas that receive the highest levels of Ultraviolet radiation from the sun are more apt to develop skin cancer. In the US, for example, skin cancer is found more often in Texas than it is in Minnesota, where the sun is not as strong. Internationally, the highest rates of skin cancer are found in South Africa and Australia, which are areas that receive very high amounts of UV radiation.
TYPES: The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) which may be locally disfiguring but rarely metastasize (spread to other parts of the body). The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is malignant melanoma.
TREATMENT: The majority of skin cancers can be treated by removal of the lesion, making sure that the edges (margins) are free of the malignant cells. However,it is important that the malignancies are found and treated early because they can invade and destroy neighboring tissue.
CONCLUSION: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in humans and is also known as skin neoplasia. The use of sunscreen is advised by medical organizations as a means to offer protection against skin cancer (NOTE: Recent studies however indicate that sunscreen does not give you protection from melanoma). Approximately 65% of melanomas and 90 percent of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are attributed to UV exposure. Even though it is rare, malignant melanoma is the cause for 75 percent of all skin cancer related death cases.
It has also been estimated that nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once. The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change in the appearance of the skin, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal. Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age. Therefore, protection should start in childhood in order to prevent skin cancer later in life.
About the Author:
About the author: Richard H. Ealom is an expert ezinearticles.com writer with more than 50 articles on diseases,causes,cures. To learn more about Skin Cancer visit “Cancer Breakthrough USA!”
You have full permission to reprint this article provided this box is kept unchanged.