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Skin Cancer Essay Research Paper Skin CancerOf

Skin Cancer Essay, Research Paper

Skin Cancer

Of all different kinds of cancer, skin cancer is one of the most

commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Skin cancer is a disease

which cancer cells are found on the outer layers of the skin. Your skin

protects the body from heat, infection, light, injury and infection. It also

stores fat, water, and vitamin D. The skin has two layers and several different

kinds of cells. With a certain lifestyle these cells can become

cancerous.(Prodigy Web Browser: An Introduction to skin Cancer {NET}, 1997)

Melanoma is associated with the highest case-fatality rate of all skin

cancers.(Mortality and Morbility Weekly Report Vol. 45/No. 17 , {MMWR}, 1996)

Numerous studies have delineated the natural history of skin cancers. Some cell

carcinomas tend to grow and invade slowly and steadily. Certain subtypes are

more aggressive, and certain sites of occurrence (scalp, shoulders and nose)

are associated with worse cases. Malignant melanoma may have a thin stage, in

which survival rates are excellent. The length of thin, or radial, growth phase

may be months to years. If untreated at some point melanoma enters a quick

growth phase. When this occurs the survival rates plummet.(Brandt, 1996) Skin

Cancer can be avoided. A change in lifestyle can reduce the risk of skin

cancer. This includes awareness of the reality of skin cancer, avoiding the sun,

and self-examination and screening.

Most of the time when people think of a serious disease they think of

things like lung cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and

other hot topic diseases of that nature. Skin cancer awareness and the

seriousness of skin cancer is far less emphasized. The MMWR did a survey of

knowledge of and awareness about melanoma in the united states in 1995. In 1996,

an estimated 38,300 cases of melanoma were diagnosed, and an approximately

7300 melanoma deaths would occur . Intervention strategies can be developed

with information and public awareness of melanoma. (MMWR) To help awareness and

public knowledge about melanoma, the American Academy of Dermatology conducted a

nation wide survey in 1995. (shown in appendix A) This report summarizes the

survey findings, which indicate that a high proportion (42%) of respondents had

no knowledge about melanoma. The level of awareness was lowest among persons

aged 18 to 24 years of age.(MMWR) Respondents were asked “Can you tell me what

melanoma is?”; 55% knew it was a type of cancer, 34% knew it was a type of skin

cancer and 42% did not know about melanoma. After being informed on melanoma,

they identified at least one risk factor of it. Most identified the risk

involved with exposure to the sun. Awareness also was varied substantially by

demographic factors including sex, race, age, education, income, and religion.


In recent decades worshipping the sun has become a cult. A deep tan

and is popularly regarded as a sign of robust health and beauty. Some go as

far as using artificial tanning milk if they can’t get one naturally. While

millions bask in the sun and follow the sun far south in winter, artificially

produced tanning rays can give people their tan at home.(Brody, 1982)

Unfortunately, ultra violent rays are a trouble maker. A good appreciation for

the sun’s harm is long overdue. Most people won’t abandon their sun god

overnight, dermatologist hope that a better understanding on the sun’s harm will

inspire a safer form of worship.(Brody) The lack of understanding has spawned

fatal and very morbid cases of skin cancer. Certain factors such as skin type

and time of exposure also determine the risk of cancer. There are certain

precautions than can be taken to help lesson the affects of sun exposure. Use

of sun blocking agents such as sunscreens, hats and protective apparel other

can reduce the risks substantially. Sunscreens, not to be confused with tanning

oils, come in different degree’s of protection. According to skin type and time

of day determine what level of sunscreen is sufficient protection.(Brody) It is

smart to apply sunscreen with an at least SPF-15 or higher, to all areas of the

body that are exposed to the sun. Apply again every two hours, even on cloudy

days. Also after swimming or perspiring. Avoid exposure to ultra violent rays

such as sun lamps or tanning parlors. Keep children protected from excessive

sun exposure especially when the sun is the strongest (10:00AM and 3:00PM).(NET)

Always consult a physician with questions concerning health affects to ultra

violent exposure.

The third change in lifestyle is self-examination and screening. There

should be no excuse for it when a safe, inexpensive screening test exist and

when a person can learn what to look for at home. Screening is most helpful

when the disease is highly prevalent, and a natural history of the disease is

known.(Brandt) Self-examination requires no time. A person should look for

black spots on the skin and rapid growth of moles and freckles.(Brandt)

Skin cancer is a terrible disease that causes fatal and morbid results.

I seems as if it is a topic that is left alone and that makes the disease even

more dangerous. It is sad to think that so many people suffer from a cancer

that could have been so easily prevented with proper precautions and education

that require none to little effort what so ever. Just a small adjustment in

one’s lifestyle.