Is Use of Sunscreens a Form of Prophylaxis or Treatment?

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Is use of sunscreens a form of prophylaxis or treatment? Explain.

In the case of N.M., sunscreen is used as a treatment more so than as prophylaxis. Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP) is a disease caused by genetic mutations in DNA. N.M. inherited these mutated genes from each parent; resulting in his condition. Since XP is genetic, prophylaxis is currently non-existent for this rare disorder. However, genetic testing of both parents is available to determine the probability of a child being born with the disease. N.M.’s parents could have revealed the possibility of XP being passed on to him through genetic counseling.

This recessive condition is distinguished by the inability of DNA to be repaired from damage inflicted by UV light. The sun is the most common and harmful source of UV light, producing UVB rays. Though there are no preventative measures in the development of N.M.’s disease; there are treatment options. The main treatment for XP is ensuring that N.M. is protected from the sun; which greatly impacts the DNA impairment leading to cancer. Sunscreens can be used as an aid to manage XP. He should use sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher as part of his regimen. Sunscreens with compounds composed of chemicals absorb and/or those with opaque materials deflect UVA, and more importantly UVB rays. The UVB rays are an increased hazard to cancer development in several ways. Therefore; it is important for N.M. to use sunscreen when having any contact with UV light to ensure that UVB rays are being restricted from harming cells.

Sunscreens alone do not suffice as the entire treatment; since any exposure to the sun is still dangerous to N.M. This is attributed to his increased sensitivity to sunlight. Protective clothing should be worn as well. It is advisable for N.M. to completely avoid the sun whenever possible. If he were to suffer from sunburn, his length of recovery would be abnormally longer than usual or would generate blistering. Even with the use of...
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