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What Is Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer?

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Is on the Rise

In case you haven't heard it enough, you need to wear sunscreen every day. Need more proof? Recent studies published in the Archives of Dermatology have concluded that more and more people are being diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer. In fact, treatments for this form of cancer have increased by about 77 percent between the years 1992-2006, making it the most common type of cancer. And scarily enough, it affects the population more than all other cancers put together.

What is non-melanoma skin cancer, anyway? Non-melanoma skin cancer involves the way either basal cell or squamous cells grow, and while both are rarely fatal and usually treatable, the latter can metastasize. "This is only going to get worse," dermatologist Dr. Suephy Chen told Business Week. "Our population is aging. Those people who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s when there was not a big sun-protection message out there are now coming into their 50s and 60s and are starting to develop skin cancers."

Most non-melanoma skin cancers grow on areas of the body such as the neck, backs of hands, ears, shoulders, and face — all the places where sun exposure is most prevalent. Fortunately, it isn't that hard to protect yourself. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, don't hit up tanning beds, and stay out of the sun from around 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., during its most intense hours.

Join The Conversation
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
What kind of upsetting to me is that there are ingredients that are touted as something to protect from UVA turns out it doesn't and continued to be used as such. I would love to wear sunscreen daily but it is hard to find one that doesn't irritate my skin. Most sunscreen break me out in pus-filled blisters and itchy rashes. And most physical sunscreens leave a gray cast on my face and contains an ingredient that breaks me out.
bryseana bryseana 7 years
I wear sunscreen everyday even on cloudy days. Bellafranki is right. Sometimes chemical-free sunscreens are the safest option. Girl Jen, I was the same way. I had a few bad sunburns as a kid too. Kids should be educated on this stuff too - if they'll listen. ha
FrankiLee FrankiLee 7 years
what people seem to be forgetting is that not only should the choice to wear sunscreen be taken into the consideration, the choice of WHICH sunscreen to wear needs to be taken into consideration. most commercial sunscreens contain scary ingredients and suspected carcinogens that absorb into the skin and eventually end up in our blood and lymph systems. the chemicals that build up in our organs can create all sorts of problems, including cancer. so not only should you be cautious about wearing sunscreen, but be cautious about what kind of sunscreen you are putting on your skin. the environmental working group has a lot of good information on sunscreen.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 7 years
This scares me. I grew up in the 1980s, and while sunscreen was something we usually had around, we only put it on before getting in the pool for the first time each day. I've had blistering sunburns more times than I can remember. I have pale skin and blue eyes. I'm going to go hide under my sun hat now.
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