Ozone layer depletion decreases our atmosphere’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. This Web page provides a quick overview of the major health problems linked to overexposure to UV radiation. Understanding these risks and taking a few sensible precautions will help you enjoy the sun while lowering your chances of sun-related health problems.
Did You Know?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and from tanning beds is classified as a human carcinogen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. Skin cancer (melanoma and nonmelanoma)
Premature aging of the skin and other skin problems
Cataracts and other eye damage
Immune system suppression
Each year, more new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. than new cases of breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. One American dies from skin cancer every hour. Unprotected exposure to UV radiation is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is now one of the most common cancers among adolescents and young adults ages 15-29. While melanoma accounts for about three percent of skin cancer cases, it causes more than 75 percent of skin cancer deaths. UV exposure and sunburns, particularly during childhood, are risk factors for the disease. Not all melanomas are exclusively sun-related—other possible influences include genetic factors and immune system deficiencies.
Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers
Non-melanoma skin cancers are less deadly than melanomas. Nevertheless, they can spread if left untreated, causing disfigurement and more serious health problems. There are two primary types of non-melanoma skin cancers: basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. If caught and treated early, these two cancers are rarely...
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