Illustration Essay: Tanning Causes Melanoma Skin Cancer
In December of 2010, at the age of forty, I was diagnosed with Stage III Metastatic Melanoma. In my early twenties I would tan every day. I would tan outdoors or go into the tanning salon. At the tanning salon I would see the small picture of the danger signs of melanoma, only to look right next to it and see the large poster of a gorgeous model with beautifully tanned skin holding the latest indoor tanning lotion. That model’s poster made me tan more and buy the lotion. Tanning couldn’t be that bad if the tanning salons weren’t illegal, right? Wrong! Tanning in fact will put you at a higher risk to cause basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, age your skin prematurely, or cause melanoma cancer that can kill you. Statistically, in the United States approximately three out of ten Caucasians may develop a basal-cell cancer within their lifetime. In eighty percent of all cases, basal-cell cancers are found on the head and neck. There appears to be an increase in the incidence of basal-cell cancer of the trunk (torso) in recent years (en.wikipedia.org). My cousin, Chrystal’s husband Dave would always go without a shirt in the summertime. Dave would get burnt several times a year on his back due to the hot sun. At the age of twenty-two, Dave noticed an unusual looking mole on his back. The mole continued to grow larger and the edges of the mole were jagged. Dave knew this was a possible sign of skin cancer. He made an appointment with his dermatologist. The dermatologist took a biopsy of the mole and the results of the biopsy showed Dave had basal-cell carcinoma. Dave was scheduled for surgery and the dermatologist had to take a very large portion of the tissue in Dave’s back to make certain all the cancer was removed. Dave now has a very large scar and a large portion of tissue missing from his back due to basal-cell carcinoma. Not only will you have a higher risk for basal-cell carcinoma...
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