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Top 10 Tips on Preventing Skin Cancer

Here is a nice summary on preventing skin cancer. For anyone who is at risk for sunburning, and who wants to be healthy for a lifetime and prevent melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, this is a very informative video produced from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Here’s more information from our companion website,

Skin cancers are broadly classified as melanoma and nonmelanomas. More than 1 million cases of nonmelanoma are diagnosed each year, making it the most common cancer in the United States. Melanoma occurs less frequently, with approximately 60,000 new cases diagnosed in 2007. The number of people affected by both types of skin cancer has increased substantially over the past several decades. Increased exposure to the sun is thought to be the cause of this increase.

Melanomas and nonmelanomas are cancers that originate in the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis. The epidermis is made up of three kinds of cells. Skin cancers are defined by the type of cell from which they develop. Squamous cell carcinoma arises from squamous cells, — thin flat cells that make up the top layer of the epidermis. Basal cell carcinoma develops in basal cells — round cells that lie beneath the layer of squamous cells.

These two types of skin cancer are referred to as nonmelanoma to distinguish them from melanoma, which develops in melanocytes. Melanocytes form the bottom layer of the epidermis and determine the skin color of an individual. Nonmelanomas are relatively slow growing and rarely spread (metastasize). In contrast, melanoma cells are much more likely to invade nearby lymphatic vessels and/or spread to other parts of the body, making them potentially more harmful. They are the focus here.

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