Teen Screen on the Skin Cancer Scene

We hear so much about skin cancer in the media but how much do we really know about this potentially deadly disease?

Three Types of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer comes in three basic varieties: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma. All three are caused by either overexposure to the sun, or are associated with a genetic cause.

Basal Cell Skin Cancer

The most prevalent type of skin cancer is basal cell. As its name indicates that the cancer is formed in the basal layer of the skin. This is the least dangerous of the skin cancers, but it can damage the face and the nearby lymph nodes if it is unchecked by treatment.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma occurs less often than basal cell, but more frequently than melanoma, diagnosed in about 700,000 Americans each year. This cancer arises in the upper layers of the skin, the squamous cells, and occurs most frequently in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the tip of the ear, the lower lip, hands, etc. Because this cancer can spread to other parts of the body including the esophagus and the lungs, it is potentially life threatening.

Malignant Melanoma

The most dangerous skin cancer is malignant melanoma, which is responsible for about 75% of all deaths from skin cancer, although it occurs less frequently, diagnosed in about 120,000 people a year in the US. This cancer attacks the pigment cells of the skin, causing them to multiply and expand either from sun exposure or genetics. The speed with which this cancer spreads is what makes it so deadly, quickly spreading to other parts of the body, especially the lymphatic system.

Prevention Better Than Cure

Although treatments are available, it is universally agreed that in the case of skin cancer, as with most things in life, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Teen Screen Educates Teens to Use Sun Screen

Teen Screen is one of those groups that are getting involved in the fight against skin cancer, with a special emphasis on outreach to teenagers. As a national organization with chapters in Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and California, Teen Screen focuses its efforts on educating teens about the dangers of skin cancer, the ways to avoid it, with a special emphasis on the application of sun screen as an effective and easy way to combat this prevalent and potentially deadly disease.

With help from organizations like the National Melanoma Awareness Project and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, Teen Screen receives and then re-distributes skin cancer awareness cards and one-time-use sun screen packets at their activities and presentations.

 

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