Skin Cancer: The Dangers of Wanting a Dark Tan
Have you ever been to a beach or water park and seen all the teenagers with dark, almost tropical tans? Though the look is appealing, every time you go out into the sun with unprotected skin you are putting yourself at risk of skin cancer. Most people don't think about it, but with today's pollution and deteriorating ozone, skin cancer is becoming ever more prevalent. There are currently 32,000 cases of Melanoma, or skin cancer, in the United States today. The startling fact is that it is growing at a rate of 4.3% a year. It is one of the fastest increases in occurrence rates of all cancers.
The danger in Melanoma is that it starts with something as simple as a mole or growth and can spread to other places on the skin, lymph nodes, lungs, liver, brain, or bones. Metastatic Melanoma refers to this secondary spread.
There are four common stages to Melanoma. It is determined by how deeply the cancer cells have penetrated the body. They are as follows:
A mole or growth on the top layer of skin.
This indicates that the growth is deeper, but has not spread anywhere else on the body.
This is when the melanoma has spread to a nearby lymph basin or other tissue.
This is the most serious, where the mutated cells have spread throughout distant parts of the body.
Countless reports have been done and released to the public on the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and skin cancer. This has almost been to no avail. I believe that in order to help teens realize the dangers, we need to target areas that they relate to most. An example of this is television, there are countless commercials warning people about the dangers of drinking and driving, unprotected sex, and drug-use. I would suggest that such commercials be made about skin cancer and the ways to prevent it. Another way would be to bring older speakers and skin cancer patients to speak to the youth. If the students see a physical example of what overexposure to the sun does to a person as they get older and what the vanity of getting too much of a tan can do to a person it surely would help somewhat.
As for lowering the risk of skin cancer, there are few ways to do it. The cause of skin cancer is related to UV rays. The majority of these are from the sun. I would recommend that if a person is planning to go out into the sun for long periods of time, he or she should put on the proper level of sunscreen for their area. Also, they should limit their exposure to sun. To use a blanket statement to sum it up, "Use common sense when dealing with the sun, it could mean life or death."