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Does everything cause cancer?
Cancer is one of the most known diseases in our environment. It is the second leading
cause of death in the United States. There are over 1.5 million new cases of cancer
diagnosed annually; industrialized nations have over a 20% death rate caused by
cancer. The United States and Ireland rank in the top 10 countries in the world for
cancer deaths according to the World Cancer Research Fund.1
Some of the main causes of cancer are smoking, high-fat diets and asbestos
exposure in the developed world. It is almost impossible to prevent people from
developing the disease because there are so many different causes and issues when it
comes to identifying one main reason why someone develops cancer.
Being from Ireland where cancer is everywhere it has made a huge impact on
my life. I’ve lost friends, family members and loved ones to the violent disease.
Believe it or not, skin cancer also known as non melanoma is one of the most
common cancers in Ireland. Ironic as it is, because Ireland is known to have everyday
rainfall. However, as soon as the sun comes out in Ireland it is common for everyone
to hit the beach. This is a huge problem as most Irish people are so fair skinned.
Exposure of fair skin to the sun can have drastic side effects that people in Ireland
seem to disregard when a ray of sunshine hits the country. The common side effects
seen on Irish skin in severe sun burn, blisters, peeling of the skin and infections due to
raw skin exposed to sand after burn has set in.
In 2007 research shows that more men then woman developed skin cancer due
to outdoor labour and outdoor sports. The main cause of cancer is ultraviolet light
(UV) radiation from the sun.2 There are two different types of radiation UVA and
UVB and both are harmful. It is usually a devolving cancer, meaning that it takes 20
to 30 years to become vigilant in the skin.3 Skin cancer is most common in people
with fair skin or with freckles. If the skin gets burnt in anyway from sunlight it can
cause cancer. Exposing skin to certain type of oil, gas or petrol may also cause cancer.
It is also in common in people who have previously undergone radiotherapy.
Researchers at Harvard University have identified those effects of global
environment and climate change can have potentially very harmful impact on public
health. These scientists at Harvard have made connection between climate change and
depletion of the ozone layer over the U.S. They have identified that this could allow
more damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth's surface, leading to
increased incidence of skin cancer.4 Methods to prevent this type of cancer are known
to most but some people choose to ignore the red flags when it comes to exposing
their skin.
There’s website www.cancer.ie that is funded by the Irish Cancer Society has a very
in depth set of guidelines on how to prevent and minimise the chances of developing
this cancer. They advise the public to stay out of the sun between the 11am and 3pm
as scientists have proven that the sun is at it’s strongest between this time.5 Another
option they give it to wear protective clothing, a simple sun hat and long sleeve shirt
may be the best prevention method one can get. It is also suggested to avoid tanning
beds or over exposure to sunlight and always wear sunscreen.6
Surgery is one of the most common treatment methods with skin cancer as well as
laser therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and tropical treatments. With skin cancer
there a specific types of surgery that can be applied. The most common surgery is
Excision. This routine is for small skin cancers that can be removed by cutting them
out. If the tumour is large, more of the nearby skin is removed.7 As a result, you may
need a skin graft or skin flap to cover the area. Surgery is known to have side effects
similar to scaring, nausea or loss of appetite. Skin cancer is a problem all over the
world it is the cause of 5% of males with cancer in the US and 4% of woman in the
US. It is one of the few cancers that can be avoided with simple everyday tasks.8 It is
up to every individual and especially parents to become familiar with the prevention
methods so that you keep safe from the sun. Sunny summer days are meant to be
enjoyed with loved ones and families. The sun should not become a fear factor, but it
is up to oneself to remain safe and be cautious when it comes to exposing your skin to
sunlight.
1: http://www.wcrf.org/cancer_statistics/cancer_frequency.php.
2: Nadakavukaren, A. (2011). Our Global Environment: A Health
Perspective. Seventh Edition. Waveland Press, Inc: Prospect Heights, Illinois.
3: Ibid
4: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142204.htm
5: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142204.htm
6: http://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information/skin-cancer/treatment
7: http://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information/skin-cancer/treatment
8: http://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information/skin-cancer/treatment
References:
Nadakavukaren, A. (2011). Our Global Environment: A Health
Perspective. Seventh Edition. Waveland Press, Inc: Prospect Heights, Illinois.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120726142204.htm
http://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information/skin-cancer/treatment
http://www.wcrf.org/cancer_statistics/cancer_frequency.php.