Skin Cancer

Topics: Ultraviolet, Sunscreen, Squamous cell carcinoma Pages: 4 (1246 words) Published: January 9, 2002
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. There are two different types of skin cancers: Melanomas and non-melanomas. To understand both of these terms a little better you need to be aware that your skin is divided up into 3 layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutis. The top layer, the epidermis, is very thin and serves to protect the deeper layers of the skin. The epidermis is also composed of basal cells, which in turn divide to form squamous cells and melanocytes. Melanoma skin cancer develops from the melanocytes and non-melanomas skin cancer develops from the basal and squamous cells.

There are 2 types of non-melanomas cancer that result from these cells. The first is basal cell carcinoma; basal cell carcinoma begins in the lowest layer of the epidermis, the basal cell layer. This type of skin cancer tends to be slow growing and is usually is found in areas that are highly exposed to sunlight, such as the head or neck. The second type is called squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for 20% of all skin cancers, and penetrates the skin more than basal cell would, therefore, is considered to be more harmful.

Surprisingly, even with these astonishing numbers people still continue to put themselves at risk everyday. The solution to all this is very simple, we all need to wear sunscreen when planning to expose ourselves to the sun. There are also other everyday preventive measures that we can take to decrease our chances of harmful exposure to the sun. It is always helpful to wear a shirt and a hat with a broad brim. Wear sunglasses that absorb 99%-100% of UV rays to help your block your eyes and the skin around your eyes from these harmful rays. The two most important things for most people who like to tan are to seek shade frequently and to never use tanning beds. You can put your body at even more of a higher risk of contracting skin cancer when staying in the constant heat.

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