Basking into the sun and baking in tanning salons to achieve a golden glow are one of the oldest beauty secrets resounding in western countries. With the heat of the sun more scorching than ever, though, you may want to reconsider doing this regimen. Otherwise, you may be trading a bronze tone with deadly skin cancer.
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Statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation reveals that over one million Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. The volume of patients even outnumbers the population of people with cancers of the breast, lung, prostate and colon combined.
One out of five Americans develops skin cancer in a lifetime.
To date, there are 800,000 Americans living with history of melanoma, while 13 million have had non-melanoma skin cancer and were diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma – a more severe case of skin cancer.
These numbers alone prove that skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the United States. And despite the persistence of several advocacies and campaigns, the volume of patients diagnosed with the disease seems to take surge every single year.
What are the causes of skin cancer?
The National Skin Cancer Institute says that almost all types of skin cancer are curable…if the symptoms are promptly observed and treated. Then again, prevention has always been better than cure. It is then important to know the causes of skin cancer especially since it is one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation acquired from long exposures to the sun and tanning booths in salons is the primary cause of skin cancer. The amount of UV radiation received by the skin depends on the strength of light, the period at which the skin was exposed, and whether the skin is duly protected by sunscreens or clothing.
Symptoms of skin cancer may not manifest early on. A lot of studies conducted have proven that the signs may be observed few years after the patients suffered long exposure to the sun.
Experts have also emphasized the direct association of frequent sun burns and the likelihood of cancer. They have also asserted that the lack of melanin in the skin of Caucasians makes them more susceptible to skin cancer.
Note that people with fair skin have lower levels of this pigment, which serves as the skin’s natural protection against UV radiation. Skins of Americans easily freckle and burn, so more cases of skin cancer are recorded in the country. Nonetheless, people of different races and skin color are also at risk of developing the cancer. Their level of vulnerability may be higher, but no one is spared from the disease.
Other Causes of Cancer
Aside from UV radiations, there are also outside factors that affect the growth of skin cancer. These would include:
• Radiation from chemotherapy when curing other types of cancer
• Genes (people with family history of skin cancer)
• Previous history of melanoma and other skin conditions
• Scars from burns
• Previous skin infections
• Long exposure to chemicals arsenic, tar and oil
• Weak immune system
• Having cancerous moles