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Skin Cancer Essay

837 words - 3 pages

Of all different kinds of cancer, skin cancer is one of the most commonlydiagnosed cancers in the United States. Skin cancer is a disease which cancer cells arefound on the outer layers of the skin. Your skin protects the body from heat, infection,light, injury and infection. It also stores fat, water, and vitamin D. The skin has twolayers and several different kinds of cells. With a certain lifestyle these cells can becomecancerous.(Prodigy Web Browser: An Introduction to skin Cancer {NET}, 1997)Melanoma is associated with the highest case-fatality rate of all skin cancers.(Mortalityand Morbility Weekly Report Vol. 45/No. 17 , {MMWR}, 1996) Numerous studies havedelineated the natural history of skin cancers. Some cell carcinomas tend to grow andinvade slowly and steadily. Certain subtypes are more aggressive, and certain sites ofoccurrence (scalp, shoulders and nose) are associated with worse cases. Malignantmelanoma may have a thin stage, in which survival rates are excellent. The length of thin,or radial, growth phase may be months to years. If untreated at some point melanomaenters a quick growth phase. When this occurs the survival rates plummet.(Brandt, 1996)Skin Cancer can be avoided. A change in lifestyle can reduce the risk of skin cancer.This includes awareness of the reality of skin cancer, avoiding the sun, and self-examination and screening.Most of the time when people think of a serious disease they think of things likelung cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, and other hot topic diseases ofthat nature. Skin cancer awareness and the seriousness of skin cancer is far lessemphasized. The MMWR did a survey of knowledge of and awareness about melanomain the united states in 1995. In 1996, an estimated 38,300 cases of melanoma werediagnosed, and an approximately 7300 melanoma deaths would occur . Interventionstrategies can be developed with information and public awareness of melanoma.(MMWR) To help awareness and public knowledge about melanoma, the AmericanAcademy of Dermatology conducted a nation wide survey in 1995. (shown in appendix A)This report summarizes the survey findings, which indicate that a high proportion (42%)of respondents had no knowledge about melanoma. The level of awareness was lowestamong persons aged 18 to 24 years of age.(MMWR) Respondents were asked 'Can youtell me what melanoma is?'; 55% knew it was a type of cancer, 34% knew it was a type ofskin cancer and 42% did not know about melanoma. After being informed on melanoma,they identified at least one risk factor of it. Most identified the risk involved withexposure to the sun. Awareness also...

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