Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

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Skin Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of abnormal cells a layer of the skin. Your skin protects your body against heat, light, infection, and injury. It also stores water, fat, and vitamin D.

The skin has two main layers and several kinds of cells. The top layer of skin is called the epidermis. It contains three kinds of cells, flat, scaly cells on the surface called squamous cells; round cells called basal cells; and cells called melanocytes, which give your skin its color.

It attacks one out of every seven Americans each year, making it the most prevalent form of cancer. However, ninety percent of all skin cancers can be cured if detected and treated in time.

There are several different kinds of skin cancers, distinguished by the types of cells affected. The three most common forms of skin cancer are: Basal cell carcinoma- usually appears as raised, translucent lumps.

This cancer develops in 300,000 to 400,000 person each year. Although the disease does not usually spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream, it may cause considerable damage by direct growth and invasion.

Squamous cell carcinoma- usually distinguished by raised lumps or growths. This form of cancer develops in 80,000 to 100,000 person per year. The disease can spread to other parts of the body. Approximately 2,000 deaths occur each year from this form of cancer.

Malignant melanoma- first appears as a light brown to black irregularly shaped blemish. This serious form of cancer results in death if undetected and untreated. It can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream and the lymph drainage system.

Sunburn and UV light can damage your skin, and this damage can lead to skin cancer. There are of course other determining factors, including your heredity and the...