Skin Cancer

Essay by stifler869A+, May 2004

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Skin Cancer

Every hour one American is killed by skin cancer and every thirty

seconds one American gets skin cancer. Cancer is a deadly disease that

alters the DNA of a skin cell and causes it to reproduce at a rapid pace.

This overproduction of cells can be harmful and in many cases deadly.

Many steps have been made in the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma,

some have been successful. The cells that have altered DNA are called

malignant or cancerous cells. These cells are found in the outer layers

of the skin. The skin's main job is to protect the body from infections

and to insulate the body to keep it at the proper temperature. The first

layer of skin is called the epidermis. This is the layer that is closest to

the surface of the skin. There are three types of cells in this layer. The

first is the squamace.

The squamace cells are flat and scaly and are

located closest to the surface of the skin. Second are the basal cells and

finally are the melanocytes, which give the skin its color. The second

layer of skin is the dermis, which is much thicker than the epidermis.

This layer contains sweat glands, nerves and blood vessels. The dermis

also contains follicles, which are tiny pockets from which the hair

grows. The most common malignant cells are the basal cells. Cancer in

the basal cell is called nonmelanoma cancer. Basal Cell Carcinoma is

caused by overexposure to the sun. The sun gives off ultraviolet rays,

which are harmful to the human body. Basal cell carcinoma will affect

body parts such as the eyes, ears and nose. If it is detected before it

gets deep into the skin there will most likely be no problem treating the

cancer. A problem will occur if it isn't detected quickly enough. if Basal

cell carcinoma is left untreated it can be very hard to treat and may

cause death. Mohs micrographic surgery, a newer surgical technique,

has the highest cure rate for surgical treatment of both primary and

recurrent tumors. This method uses microscopic control to determine

the extent of tumor invasion. Although Mohs micrographic surgery

method is complicated and requires special training, it has the highest

cure rate of all surgical treatments because the tumor is outlined until

it is completely removed. While other treatment methods for recurrent

basal cell carcinoma have failure rates of about 50%, cure rates have

been reported at 96% when treated by Mohs micrographic surgery. It

has been found that 36% of patients who develop a basal cell carcinoma

will develop a second primary basal cell carcinoma within the next five

years Basal cell carcinoma is 100% preventable with the daily use of

sunscreen beginning in the childhood years. Sunscreen prevents the

ultraviolet rays from coming in contact with the skin thus preventing

the cancer from entering into you body. Cancer is a killing disease that

needs to become preventable.