by Mark A. Kelley, MD
This blog that we are sharing for National Stay Out of the Sun Day originally appeared on HealthWebNavigator.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Here are some facts:
- Over 3 million Americans are treated for skin cancer every year.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
- Skin cancer is preventable and easy to detect.
- When caught early, this cancer is usually curable.
- Some types of skin cancer can be fatal.
Skin cancer is caused by sunlight damage to the skin. The only way to prevent it is to stay out of the sun, or block the sun’s rays.
People with fair skin are more vulnerable to skin cancer. Those with dark complexions have some natural protection since their skin filters out some of the sun’s rays. Nonetheless, people of color can still get skin cancer.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage the DNA of skin cells. These cells may grow abnormally and eventually become cancerous. This transformation may evolve slowly over many years or may occur earlier in life, particularly if sunlight exposure has been intense.
Sunlight can also lead to another problem — premature wrinkling of the skin. Sun worshippers believe that a tan is healthy. In reality, a suntan is a sign of the skin injury. If it