Skin Cancer

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate April 2001

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Skin CancerSkin Cancer is a very serious problem and many people seem to be unaware of it and how deadly it can be. The most common types of skin cancer are basil cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Overexposure to the sun is the primary cause of the common skin cancers, and the popularity of tanning lies behind the rise in skin cancer. The depletion of the ozone layer also plays a role.

Basil and squamous cell carinomas are the most common types of cancer. Both arise from epithelial tissue. Theses are dark skinned people, light skinned people and blue eyed people whom do not tan well but have a good amount of exposure to the sun, they are all at the highest risk. Both types usually occur on the face or other exposed areas. Basil cell typically is a raised ulcerous nodule. The nodule may have a pearly appearance.

It grows slowly and rarely spreads but it can be destructive and disfiguring to the area that it is in. Squamous cell typically is a painless lump that grows into a wart like lesion. Unlike Basil cell, squamous can spread and may lead to death.

Basil and squamous cell carinomas are easily cured with treatment. The lesion is usually removed there are many different techniques to remove then if the cancer is in an are where surgery would be difficult or disfiguring then radiation may be used.

Melanoma is the most virulent type of skin cancer and is the type that is most likely to be fatal. As with the others, melanoma can be caused by overexposure to the sun, and its incidence is increasing around the world. Melinomas arise in melanocytes, the melanin containing cells of the epidermal layer of the skin. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin color and that helps protect the skin from the sun. In light-skinned people, melanomas appear more frequently on the trunk in men and on the arms and legs on women. In blacks melanomas appear most frequently on the hands and feet.

The most effective ways to prevent skin cancer are to avoid exposure to the sun's UV rays by consistently applying effective sunscreens and wearing protective clothing. It is also recommended that you examine yourself regularly for any evidence of the characteristic changes in a mole that could arise a suspicion of melanoma. This is especially important for melanoma because surgery performed before the melanoma has spread is the only effective treatment for melanoma.