Melanoma Skin Cancer

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Health Information Exchange
Stacey Cannon
BIOS-260 DeVry University
Professor Sims
Sunday December 9, 2012

Melanoma Skin Cancer

As early as the 1930’s, sun tanning was encouraged by medical professionals to promote skin health. Scientific research during the late 1890’s played a huge role in contributing to the skin diseases we now know to exist today. During the turn of the 19th century, there was a chronic and progressive disease known as Lupus Vulgaris. The disease left infected individuals with painful cutaneous skin sores. Lesions appeared on individuals around the face, nose, lips, cheeks, ears and eyelids and proved resistant to all treatment leaving individuals with disfiguring skin ulcers. It was not until 1896 when a physician and scientist named Niels Ryberg Finsen discovery the relationship between sunlight and the deficiency of vitamin D in patients. Based on his findings, “he demonstrated that the most refractive rays form the sun may have a stimulating effect on the tissues”. (“Niels Ryberg Finsen”). The breakthrough used “concentrated light radiation”, now known as Photobiomodulation, to be beneficial in use to treat diseases like Lupus Vulgaris and proved to be successful. (“Niels Ryberg Finsen”). The success of these light treatments went on to win Finsen the Nobel Prize Award in 1903 in Physiology/Medication for his findings. Later by the 1930’s medical professions encouraged individuals to gain sun exposure to promote healthy levels of vitamin D and people began to spend more leisure time in the sun. (Randle, 2010). Eventually, the development of sunlamps, commercial tanning beds, and tanning salons came into our lives. Perhaps today, we may consider this to offer the beginning of the melanoma epidemic. Although it cannot pinpoint as when the melanoma epidemic began, but it could very well have attributed to it. Skin cancer is described as an abnormal growth of skin cells that is often occurs due to over exposure of ultra-violent sun rays. It occurs when there are mutations are in the DNA of the body’s skin cells. These mutations grow out of control forming a mass of cancer cells beginning on the epidermis, the top skin layer, which provides protection to the other skin cells. The epidermis is comprised of: squamous cells that function as the skin’s lining, basal cells, which provide growth of new skin cells, and melanocytes which provide the pigmentation or skin color. These cells contribute to the names of the three types of skin cancers known as: Basal and Squamous cell skin cancer (very common and very treatable), Lymphoma (rare and treatable) and Melanoma skin cancer. As noted by the American Cancer Society, “Melanoma skin cancer is the least common but the most serious of these skin cancers”. (American Cancer Society, 2012). Anyone can develop Melanoma skin cancer since it is the most common form of skin cancer. It is estimated that “over 1 million cases occur annually and nearly half of all Americans who live to age 65 will develop skin cancer at least once”. (Medicine net, 2012). Melanoma can develop regardless of skin color, age, race and exposure to the sun is not necessarily a factor. Melanoma can be undetected for long periods of time and may be non-malignant or a malignant tumor, developing on any area of the body including those areas normally not exposed to sun light or internal organs. Many risk factors contribute to developing a form of skin cancer. Demographics can also play an important role in developing skin cancer. This is due to the amount of extended sun radiation received from excessive exposure to the sun for long extended periods of the day, or from those that live in warmer sunnier places, or those that live in high-altitude climates are all exposed more than normal individuals and have in increased risk of development. Other mentionable contributing factors include abnormal moles that may look irregular or are increased in size, commonly located on the face,...
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