Summertime often evokes the urge for people to go outside and enjoy the sun’s vibrant rays. The sun is one of the most energetic and alluring natural elements in the world. Too much exposure to the sun can have detrimental effects, however. More than 3.5 million cases of various skin cancers develop in the United States every year. Skin cancer accounts for more than 50 percent of cases in the United States.
What Is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is a toxic growth that starts in the layers of the skin. Ultraviolet radiation causes a large majority of skin cancers. Residents can develop skin cancer from sitting out in the sun too long. Additionally, they can develop skin cancer from exposing themselves to tanning beds. Ultraviolet rays can destroy the skin’s immune system, which can help cancerous cells develop. Signs of skin cancer include brown lesions, glossy bumps, red or purple patches, and shiny nodules. Persons who notice any of these occurrences should contact a medical professional immediately. A specialist can perform a biopsy to see if the growths are cancerous.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Certain individuals have a higher probability of contracting skin cancer than others have. Those individuals include light-skinned people, albino individuals, people with light-colored eyes, people with weak immune systems, persons who have genetic predispositions, and individuals who spend a great deal of time in the sun. People can prevent cancer by first reducing the amount of time that they spend in its direct path. People who need to spend large amounts of time in the sun should bring four items with them at all times: shirts, shoes, sunglasses and sunscreen. The American Cancer Society has recognized sunscreen and sunblock as effective skin cancer prevention products. The best sunscreen to purchase is a broad-spectrum sunscreen that can protect the skin from UVA and UVB rays.
Treatment for Skin Cancer
A person who detects skin cancer early has a better chance of curing it than a person who finds out late in the process. Getting care as quickly as possible is of the utmost importance. Doctors can choose several methods to treat skin cancer. In the early stages, a specialist may be able to remove the cancerous tissue by way of freezing, excising, scraping, electrocuting or radiating it. If the cancer has spread beyond the in situ point, then the treating physician will have to use additional methods of treatment. At this point, specialists may use immunotherapy, chemotherapy or radiation treatments in addition to surgery. Some drugs are available that help to mutate the genetic makeup of cancerous cells. These drugs weaken the cancerous masses so that the body’s immune system can penetrate them. More than 90 percent of people with stage one skin cancer can survive for at least five years. Scientists and doctors are developing new medicines that can raise the statistics even more.