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Tanning and Skin Cancer - Is it Really a Big DealI’m so sick of all these people making a big deal about cancer. I know that it’s awful, I know that it’s incurable, and I know that I may not have the best attitude towards it – but it just seems like the media takes a real condition and twists it into a “the sky is falling!” scenario.  This really bothers me in the context of skin cancer. Is it really as deadly as the media makes it sound? Do we really need to spend less time in the sun, or is it just the “trendy” thing right now? I’d like to dispel a couple of these notions, especially since summer is coming and we all want to get out there and achieve the perfect bronze.

First, let’s talk about skin cancer. There are 3 main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer, but generally are not lethal. They are caused by prolonged exposure to the suns Ultra-Violet rays (UV rays). UV rays emit radiation, which can damage your skin cells. This damage can mess up your DNA, which is responsible for the manufacturing of new skin cells. When the DNA is damaged, your new skin cells aren’t made correctly and start to multiply. This makes up what we know as tumors – the uncontrolled growth of bad cells. For basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, this growth usually doesn’t spread very quickly and can be removed easily. There is not much to worry about when it comes to these types of skin cancer. I mean, you don’t want to have surgery to remove these cancers, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you were diagnosed with either of them.

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