Volume 2 Issue 5

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Page 17 of 41

Page 18 | Abby's Magazine - A golden tan displays your skin's attempt to protect itself from the destructive effects of UVA and UVB rays, which stimulate cells to produce melanin, the pigment that darkens your skin and struggles to protect it from further sun damage. Simply by getting a tan, you injure your skin. And that tan is merely the first stage of damage, including premature aging, wrinkling, and cancer, which can come from years of cumulative sun exposure. Even if you don't bask outside on sunny days, you still may be at risk for skin cancer, including the most serious type, malignant melanoma. Weekend gardening, outdoor exercise or even an occasional excursion to the beach or park can put you at risk for skin cancer, particularly if you have a family history of the disease. Unlike folks with faulty memories, your skin remembers every childhood sunburn, every visit to the unshaded pool and every summer vacation. Long after you've put away the suntan lotion and packed away the swimsuits, your skin will show the effects of years of sun exposure. It's not too late to make plans to protect your skin from the possibility of cancer. This is truly a preventable form of disease. What's Your Type? As distinctive as a fingerprint, your skin possesses a unique susceptibility to burning and tanning. Experts rank skin types on a scale from one to six. "Type one people always burn and never tan, type three people burn moderately and tan moderately and uniformly, and type six individuals never burn and always tan," explains Norman Levine, MD (Skin Healthy: Everyone's Guide to Great Skin, Taylor Publishing Company). While some fair-skinned folks burn easily, others don't, so you can be light-skinned yet still be a type three or four. And regardless of skin tone, sun damage is cumulative. Dark or fair-skinned, years of exposure to ultraviolet light result in varying degrees of sun damage. While both types of UV radiation play a role in skin cancer – UVA and UVB – UVB radiation causes damage to the DNA of the skin cells, says the American Cancer Society (ACS). "Skin cancers develop when this damage affects the DNA of genes that control growth and division of skin cells." Early Detection The skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma often develops in sun-exposed areas: the face, hands, and back. Frequently visible as ulcerated sores that don't quite heal. Basal cell cancers may be destructive to surrounding areas but rarely spread. Squamous cell carcinoma is also typically found on sun- exposed areas, and may appear as thick with scales or an ulcer that won't heal. This type of cancer is more aggressive and may spread to non-sun-exposed areas. Malignant melanoma, potentially life threatening, frequently appears as a irregular dark lesion or mole. The surface is often rough and the color may be a mixture of brown, black, white, red, or blue. Melanoma Attention Sun Worshipers

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