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Question:

What is skin cancers. Describe its causes, prevention and treatment.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Skin cancers are the type of cancers that occurs in the skin. It is caused by the development of the abnormal cells which can spread in all the body parts. Three categories of skin cancer exist. They are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer and melanoma. The major cause of all the skin cancers is ultraviolet rays from the sun. It is the highest prevalent cancer  that occurs in 40% of all the population. Globally it causes many deaths and the common sufferers are from Australia and New Zealand (Boniol et al, 2011). Due to skin cancer there occurred 80,000 deaths in the year 2010 out of which 49,000 was due to melanoma cancers and rest due to non melanoma cancers.

Causes

The risk and the contributing factors of getting skin cancer are explained as following:

UV exposure: The sources are sunlight, tanning lamps, beds etc. The DNA of the cells of skin is damaged. Three types of UV rays are there. First is UVA that cause the skin cell to age and cause some damage (Narayanan DL, Saladi, RN, Fox, JL, September 2010). Second is UVB that cause direct DNA skin cells damage. Third is UVC does not causes skin cancer.

 

Moles: Nevus is a benign pigmented tumor. Many moles in the body show signs of melanoma. One is dysplastic nevi and the other Congenital melanocytic nevi, these are the ones present from birth and the risk levels are less. The risk is directly proportional to the size of moles. The larger the size the greater is the risk of developing skin cancer.

Fair skin colour, light hairs and freckling spots.

Family history: The risk of melanoma is higher of one or more of the first relative is having melanoma. In DNA only the mutation occurs and because of this sometimes the repair capability of DNA is lost.

Personal history: An individual who earlier had skin cancer can develop it again.

Immune suppression: Individuals with weak immune system or who had been medicated in a way that suppresses the immune system are at a greater risk.

Age: It is found in older ones and younger ones, especially persons younger than 30.

Gender: Males are at higher risk than females.

Xeroderma pigmentosum: It is inherited condition that results from the enzyme defect that is meant to repair the damaged DNA (Boring, 2011). Individuals with this condition are at a higher risk of getting infected.

 

Prevention

To prevent oneself from skin cancer one following must be done:

  • Avoiding sunduring the peak time.
  • Applying sun screen always
  • Wearing protective clothing
  • Avoiding tanning beds.
  • Keeping oneself aware about the medicines that are sun sensitizing
  • Checking skin regularly.

Treatment

The major treatments that are done for skin cancer are:

  • Surgery: In this the entire growth is removed by the surgeon with the help of a scalpel.
  • Freezing: It is the process of destroying the lesion by using liquid nitrogen.
  • Scraping: The growth is scraped off with a curette (Leiter et al, 2008).
  • Radiotherapy: In this high energy rays are used to kill the cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy: The cancer killing drugs are used to kill the cells.
 

Conclusion

The research is ongoing to introduce the contributing factors, history of skin cancer, presence of moles, exposure to rays or immune suppression. The studies that are performed in the present and the future focuses on to protect males. It is a major health crisis in Australia. So many deaths occur every year, so it is responsibility of the Australian government to create more and more methodologies to protect and prevent the skin cancer spread. As seen the major sufferers are men so special preventions methods should adopted for them. Special care must be taken to prevent the spread of the condition within a family by teaching them the mechanisms of the spread and explaining the family members also how to prevent themselves.

 

References

Boniol M, Autier P, Boyle P, Gandini S. Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis. Correction. BMJ. 2012;345 C. Boring, T. S. Squires and T. Tong (2011). "Cancer statistics, 1991". SA Cancer Journal for Clinician 41 (1): 19–36.

Leiter, U; Garbe, C (2008). "Epidemiology of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancer--the role of sunlight.". Advances in experimental medicine and biology 624.

Narayanan DL, Saladi, RN, Fox, JL (September 2010). "Ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer.". International Journal of Dermatology 49 (9): 978–86.

 

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