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Essay/Term paper: Skin cancer

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Narrative Essays

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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.


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