Skin Cancer Essay, Research Paper
Introduction: What is the first thing you all think about when you are on spring break and you re about to run down to the beach and soak in the sun for hours? How you look in your bathing suit? Who you re going to see at the beach? If you remembered your Frisbee or your cooler? I certainly hope not. The first thing everyone in this room should be thinking about is where is the sunscreen. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in America. About half of you in this classroom today will eventually get it. Today I am going to share with you what skin cancer is, how it is caused and what you can do to prevent it.
I. Skin cancer is actually one of the most common types of cancer.
A. What it is, is a disease in which the cancer cells are found in the outer layer of your skin.
1. Your skin is obviously essential to your life.
a. It protects against heat, light, injury and infection.
b. It also regulates your body temperature, and stores water, fat, and vitamin D.
B. There are several different types of skin cancer, but the two most common are melanoma and nonmelanoma.
C. Nonmelanoma includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
1. Basal cell is what 90% of those with skin cancer have.
a. It is slow growing and rarely spreads.
b. It usually occurs on areas of your body that have been exposed to the sun.
2. Squamous is less common and spreads a bit more than basal.
a. It is most often found on the hands, lips, and forehead.
D. Melanoma is a type of cancer that starts in the melanocytes, which are the cells that color the skin. (www.skincancerinfo.com)
1. It s not as common, but it is much more serious.
2. This is the type that can appear as a new mole, or an infected mole.
E. Skin cancer can look very different in different people.
1. The most common symptom is a change in the skin, like a growth or a sore that won t seem to heal.
2. Sometimes there are small lumps that can have many different textures or appearances.
a. They can be smooth, shiny, waxy, red or brown.
b. Or they may be red, flat spots that are rough and scaly.
F. Skin cancer is treatable and most of the time, it can be cured.
1. There are three treatments for patients with skin cancer.
a. The first is surgery where the doctor will remove the cancer.
b. The second is chemotherapy, which is using drugs to kill the cancer cells.
c. And the third is radiation therapy, which is using X-rays to kill the cancer cells.
(Transition: Now that you know what exactly skin cancer is, let s take a look at what causes it.)
II. There are several things that directly cause skin cancer. They are sunburn, sunlight, heredity, and the environment. (www.skincancer.org)
A. Tanning is your skin’s response to UV light, and when you get sunburned you ve obviously had too many UV rays on your skin.
1. Though tanning is considered a protective reaction to prevent further injury to
your skin from the sun, it does not prevent skin cancer.
a. Skin cancer is very slow to develop.
b. The sunburn you receive this week could turn into skin cancer 20 years from now.
c. Most people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun in their first 18 years of life.
B. Heredity is another factor that can unfortunately cause skin cancer.
1. If there is a history of skin cancer in your family, you are at a higher risk to develop it.
2. Also, if you are fair skinned or have a Northern European heritage, you are more susceptible.
C. The environment you surround yourself with, also plays a huge part in developing skin cancer.
1. Due to the reduction of the ozone layer in the earth s atmosphere, the level of UV rays is higher today than it was 50-100 years ago.
a. The ozone layer serves as a filter to screen out and reduce the amount of UV light we are exposed to.
b. With less atmospheric ozone, higher levels of UV rays reach the earth.
2. Other environmental factors include elevation level, cloud cover and latitude.
a. The UV light is stronger as the elevation increases because the atmosphere is thinner and it cannot filter as many UV rays as it can at sea level.
b. The rays of the sun are much stronger near the equator, as well.
c. Cloud cover is actually a factor that reduces the UV rays.
i. Climates with regular cloud cover may have up to 50% lower UV level.
(Transition: Now that you know what skin cancer is and what causes it, here are some things you can do to prevent it.)
III. There are six steps that have been recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation to help reduce the risk of sunburn and ultimately, skin cancer. (www.jas.tcom/skincancer)
A. Minimize your exposure to the sun midday. This is between the hours of 10:00am and 2:00pm.
B. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, to all areas of the body that are exposed to the sun.
C. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days and especially after swimming or perspiring.
D. Wear clothing that covers your body and shades your face. This includes hats and long sleeves.
E. Avoid exposure of UV rays from tanning beds or sunlamps.
F. Protect your children. Keep them out of the strongest sun and apply sunscreen generously and frequently.
Conclusion: Today I have shared with you what skin cancer is, how it is caused, and how you can prevent it. I hope you have taken this to heart and the next time you are at the beach, please, please don t forget the sunscreen.
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