Skin Cancer Essay

1953 words - 8 pages

Throughout history, the ‘ideal’ image of people has changed significantly. People have been expected to look differently over time, with different styles and fads and they have always enjoyed going to the beach and pool, spending time outside and relaxing – including societies’ addiction with tanning. Everyone loves coming back from the beach with a nice, dark tan, however, they don't know the dangers entailed
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is the abnormal growth of cells in the skin. There are two different types of skin cancers: Melanomas and non-melanomas. Most skin cancers are the non-melanoma type. There are two main types of non-melanoma skin ...view middle of the document...

While early stage melanoma is curable, the later vertical growth phase (VGP) is frequently metastatic, with median survival times of less than nine months. Many cancers begin when one or more genes in a cell are mutated (changed), creating an abnormal protein. A person may either be born with a genetic mutation in all of their cells (germ-line mutation) or acquire a genetic mutation in a single cell during his or her lifetime sometimes as a result of exposure to environmental factors, such as UV rays from the sun.
Most melanomas – about 90 percent, are considered sporadic, meaning that the damage to the genes occurs by chance after a person is born, and there is no risk of passing on the gene to a person's children. An increased risk of melanoma occurs when specific gene mutations are passed within a family from generation to generation and is sometimes called familial melanoma.
An inherited risk of melanoma is suspected if two or more first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters) are diagnosed with melanoma. Many people who have an increased risk of melanoma never develop the disease; only 10 percent of melanoma is familial.
The non-inherited BRAFV600E gene mutation is found in about 66 percent of melanomas; particularly those arising in younger patients. This BRAF mutation activates certain enzyme pathways that are involved in many cell processes. Studies have identified this non-inherited mutation in the BRAF gene that appears to be the most common event in the process that leads to melanoma.
The V60L mutation is more common in people with light hair and skin tone that, despite being light, tans easily in the summer. This mutation is positive for the climate of the Mediterranean region, as it facilitates the absorption of vitamin D in the winter months, in which the ultraviolet radiation is lower. In the summer months, in which the radiation is greater, the ease to darken the skin pigmentation provides a certain protection. However, a study revealed that among people with this mutation, there is a greater predisposition to skin cancer.
Increasing evidence has shown that the greater the number of variations of gene MC1R (melanocortin-1 receptor), the greater the risk for inherited melanoma. The MC1R gene plays an important role in determining if a person has red hair, fair skin, and sensitivity to UV radiation, it also regulates the synthesis of melanin. MC1R is more common in Northern European countries posing a greater risk of skin cancer to those who have high exposure to ultraviolet rays. People who have olive and darker skin and who carry one or more variations of this gene have a higher than average risk for melanoma. The MC1R gene, which being whiter – ‘fair skinned’ is also associated with an increased susceptibility to melanoma.
There are many factors beyond genetics that facilitates the synthesis of vitamin D which is key in the periods of gestation and growth, in a way that its proper absorption is critical to the...

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