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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.