Skin Cancer is On the Rise as Summer Gears Up
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the US. Pictures taken of a person using UV light is very effective in directing people to take better prevention steps like wearing sunscreen and not using indoor tanning bed/booths.
According to the United Kingdom’s skin cancer database, there are over 45,000 cases of squamous cell cancer every year in England; 350% more than previously thought. Squamous cell cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer. Basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer are both under the umbrella of non-melanoma skin cancer or keratinocyte cancers. Between 2013 and 2015, 1,566 patients were diagnosed with squamous cell cancer that had spread to another part of the body, with 85% of these patients getting the diagnosis of cancer spread (metastasis) within two years of initial diagnosis of squamous cell cancer. Queen Mary University of London traces back to 1785 and are known for their work in world-leading research (QMUL, 2018).
The Issue at Hand
Non-melanoma skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell cancers, is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer in humans. With the advent of tanning booths and cultural ideation that to look healthy you need tanned skin has led to an ever-increasing number of non-melanoma skin cancers. A well-documented risk factor for developing non-melanoma skin cancer is frequent and chronic exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation, fair complexion, advancing age, and immunosuppressant use. And while most episodes with non-melanoma skin cancer have had a small number that spread and resulted in death. Treatment options for persons with skin cancer include surgery, cryotherapy (removed with substances like liquid nitrogen), curettage (scraping of abnormal tissues), and electrodesiccation (use of single terminal electrode used to destroy lesions and seal off blood vessels). Treatment is usually decided according to the type of tumor, anatomical location, patients’ age, tumor stage, and doctors preference. Treatment decisions become more complex as the patient ages. Anatomical considerations are also important as these lesions most frequently occur on the ears, around the eyes and nose where cosmetic considerations must be considered to decide which treatment used (Nestor et al, 2019).
Skin cancer rates have increased according to a study done in England. These increases in skin cancer are also rising in America. In order to persuade the patients to take preventative measures or treatment suggested by the doctor, patient values, needs, and preferences are lacking in current research. Other studies tend to focus on the disease, not the person who has the disease. Patients with basal cell and squamous cell cancers both mention in this study that their need for all relative information in the explanation from the doctor. Patients from both BCC and SCC both state they needed to have a voice in making decisions about the direction of care. The study also found limitations in their results. Only those patients who were treated by dermatologists were included. They admit this may have led to a selection bias in the patients’ preferences for a dermatologist. With the ever-rising incidences of skin cancer, more and more patients are being treated by their general practitioner. Their conclusion to the study was by increasing patient-centered care with a personalized treatment plan and return visits to the same practitioner helped to increase patient compliance (van Egmond et al, 2019).
It is estimated there are over 420,000 adults who had cancer as children with a survival rate among those patients of 80% treated children survive past five years. It has been discovered that skin cancers often occur in the radiation treatment field. Basal cell cancer is a rare occurrence for young people of the general population. That is why a report from the US Childhood Cancer Survivors Study has shown as these survivors age only 30% reported that their doctor did a skin exam. Children tend not to use sunscreen or use it properly and as they age after a bout of cancer in their younger years. Information needs to be shared with these people and families and routine skin cancer screening should be done. Web sites such as American Cancer Society have information available for prevention of cancers and issues noted for survivors. They have said through this website that doctors should make use of reminder cards for patients to remind them to schedule an appointment with their doctor for a skin screening. This group is at a greater risk of developing skin growths (Geller & Emmons, 2019).
Sunscreen is a multibillion-dollar industry. Despite the fact there are only four prospective studies looking at sunscreens role in preventing skin cancer advertising hype is often taken as fact. This article posed the question; could all the officials spouting that this or that sunscreen prevents skin cancer is unfounded? By looking at the studies that have already conducted it was uncovered that the majority of them say the sunscreen being tested us effective in preventing actinic keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma. In addition, it adds to the protection against basal cell carcinoma. There have been no long term studies conducted that shows a connection between lowered rates of basal cell cancer and presently available sunscreen. They did find a connection between using sunscreen and skin cancer risk in people who have an underlying risk of skin cancer. And a study limitation was the researchers didn’t prevent the control group from using sunscreen thus making the results less than reliable (Waldmam & Grant-Kels, 2019).
The most deadly form of skin cancer is melanoma. The total numbers are rising and becoming a significant medical problem. It is caused by exposure to UV radiation so even those who make use of tanning beds need to be careful. There are a number of factors that can make a person more susceptible to alteration of the skin to cause melanoma. Some of these factors include hair color, skin type, genetic background, location (geographic), and history of tanning/burning. In melanocytes, improper reaction to UV radiation can lead to melanoma. Because of the complicated nature of melanoma, it has been very difficult for practitioners to devise an effective method of prevention of this deadly skin cancer or development of curative approaches to this disease. Approximately 3.5 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer in America. It is the most common form of cancer in America affecting 40-50% of all cancers and the numbers are rising. There are two types of UV radiation UVA (the form used in tanning beds/booths) and UVB. The UVA from these tanning mechanisms can administer a dose of this dangerous substance 12 times that of the sun. Sadly, in America, 40-50% of teens have used tanning beds. In addition, about 70% of those using tanning beds are females under the age of 30. In fact, the use of indoor tanning from age 15-39 result in melanoma at a rate nearly double that of males in the same test group (Sample & He, 2019). As summer gears up it are important to use sunscreen of at least SPF 30 or higher, seeking shade when outdoors in the sun especially between ten am and four pm, wearing sun protective clothing and UV protective sunglasses, and limiting the time or frequency of indoor tanning devices.
Brigham Young University. (2019). What if you could spot skin cancer before it got too serious? Brigham Young University.
Geller, A.C. & Emmons, K. M. (2019). The time has come to enhance skin cancer screening for adult childhood cancer survivors. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 111(8).
Nestor, M.S. et al. (2019). Consensus guidelines on the use of superficial radiation therapy for treating non-melanoma skin cancers and keloids. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology,12(2).
QMUL (2018). Skin cancer rates far higher than previously thought, according to new national database. Queen Mary University of London.
Sample, A. & He, Y. (2018). Mechanisms and prevention of UV induced melanoma. Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, Photomedicine, 34(1).
van Egmond, S. et al. (2019). Needs and preferences of patients regarding basal cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma care: A qualitative focus group. British Journal of Dermatology.
Waldman, R.A. & Grant-Kels, J. M. (2019). The role of sunscreen in the prevention of cutaneous melanoma and non-melanoma skin care. Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 80(2).