Skin Cancer

Prepare and submit a term paper on Skin cancer. Your paper should be a minimum of 1750 words in length. This increase has been linked to increased solar radiation exposure associated with tanning behaviors. The use of artificial tanning beds has also been implicated. Skin cancers can present as any kind of skin lesions such as an ulcer or lump, and can therefore be mistaken by the patient as a benign process. This often leads to a delay in presentation until cancer has reached an advanced stage. Considering the significance of skin cancer and the significant research interest surrounding the strength of the association between light exposure and skin cancer, this literature review has been conducted to discuss what is known by the medical community today about skin cancers. Objectives The objectives of this review are to discuss the etiology, risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancers. Discussion Epidemiology The incidence of skin cancers, both melanomas, and non-melanomas, has risen over the past 3 decades. Some experts proclaim that we are experiencing a ‘record’ number of newly diagnosed skin cancers (Riker, Zea, and Trinh). Melanoma is the 6th most common fatal malignancy in the United States (Riker, Zea, and Trinh). The young women demographic group, in particular, has the highest increase in cancer incidence noted (Woo and Eide). Melanoma is the second most common cancer in women 20 to 29 years old (Riker, Zea, and Trinh). Studies show no link between sex hormones and melanoma risk (Coelho and Hearing), and young women are the most common users of indoor tanning beds (Woo and Eide). Therefore, this high cancer rate in young women is likely a reflection of the contribution of tanning beds to skin cancer incidence. Skin melanoma is rare cancer compared to basal and squamous cell skin cancers, however, it is associated with a much higher rate of metastases and mortality, and occurs more commonly in whites than other races (Society). Risk factors and Pathophysiology The ultraviolet (UV) component of solar radiation has traditionally been considered an important ‘carcinogen’ for skin cancer. In the past few decades, the emergence of indoor tanning booths has emerged as another source of UV radiation exposure. Ultraviolet light has 3 components – UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVB is the most strongly carcinogenic component, which also enhances vitamin D production in the skin (Coelho and Hearing). UVA is less carcinogenic, and UVC not at all. UV-induced DNA damage in keratinocytes can lead to pre-malignant changes in the skin such as actinic keratosis, solar lentigo, and dermatoheliosis. These lesions can, in time, develop into frank cancers (Stulberg, Crandell and Fawcett). The tanning industry, which is evidently responsible at least in part for the sharp rise in skin cancers, remains a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide (Riker, Zea, and Trinh). About 1 million American women use tanning beds regularly of which 70% are females between 16 to 45 years old. The number that uses excessive sun exposure for tanning is not known. Tanning beds were initially proclaimed to be non-carcinogenic as they emit mostly UVA. Also, tanning UV exposure was considered beneficial for promoting vitamin D production in the skin. Eventually, however, studies demonstrated that tanning beds overall provided more UV radiation than the summer sun exposure.

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