There is no way to talk about the causes of skin cancer and avoid the sun. The large ball of gaseous substances sits 93 million miles away from the Earth and sends out massive amounts of radiation in many forms. 45% of the radiation comes in the form of infrared radiation which we experience as heat. Ultraviolet radiation makes up 6% of the radiation absorbed by Earth and this is what causes skin cancer.
Ultraviolet radiation can be broken down into 3 types; UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C is the most deadly to all life on Earth, but it rarely reaches Earth due to the ozone layer and Earth's atmosphere. UV-A and UV-B both reach Earth and both are the major causes of skin cancers. UV-A penetrates the lower layers of skin and causes premature aging and wrinkling while UV-B hits the surface of the skin and causes the burning and peeling. Due to the ozone depletion, these two forms of radiation are becoming more abundant on the planet and this does not help skin cancer prevention.
What about the tanning booths that are now so popular? We like to call these places "fake and bake", because, well, that's what it is. These booths have been around for many years and many people think that they are safer than actual tanning in the sun. The National Institute of Health investigated this and found that some tanning booths actually put out 5 times as many UV-A rays than the amount that reach the Earth on a given day. Immediate adverse effects of a tanning session are rare, but can happen. Injury can occur to the cornea and this happens when the proper goggles are not worn. Skin cancer is found in long time tanning booth users and it is no wonder why. The booths use UV-A as the means to give the user a tan and this is just asking to get skin cancer. Since UV-A is also capable of penetrating the deeper layers of skin, it is even more dangerous as a means of receiving a tan. UV-B rays are not used in tanning booths because of its tendency to burn the user, but UV-A is not limited to the surface and a wider range of cancers can occur.
Another cause of skin cancer of skin cancer is genetic disposition. Genetic disposition in skin cancer means that someone has faulty genes that put them at a higher risk for getting the cancer. Its important to realize that UV radiation damages the DNA in the cells and the genes. When this happens, the cell must either repair the damage or kill itself. A cell could become cancerous because it loses the ability to detect damage, repair damage, control growth, or even detect uncontrolled growth. There are many genetic situations that could occur in the cell and we recomend that you visit the genetics section of our page for an in-depth look at this aspect of skin cancer.
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