Skin Cancer Essay

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“Cancer”, its a disease that has claim the lives of millions, its a disease that so far has no known cure, and its a disease that has many different forms. Cancer is defined as “a malignant form of tumors, which are tissue masses that arise through mutations in the genes that govern cell growth and division” (Starr, 1999, p. 213). Skin cancer is just one of the many forms of cancer that effects us and is the most common cancer in the U.S. Like so many others, I would assume that the major cause of skin cancer was the ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, there are other factors involved. Our DNA plays a major role in how cancer affects us, it has a major role in genetics too, therefore, environmental and heredity both are factors that…show more content…
One form of skin cancer is melanoma, is the rarest but the most virulent of the skin cancers. It is responsible for 75% of all deaths from cancer. It is “a cancer that arises in the melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives our skin, hair, and eyes their color and that allows us to tan” (Schofield & Robinson, 2000, p. 1). Melanocytes are located throughout the body, “in the retina of the eye and in the linings of the mouth, nose, anus, rectum, vagina, and spinal cord,” (Schofield & Robinson, 2000, p. 6). However, majority of them are located in the skin. The purpose of these cells are to make melanin to protect our skin cells from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV rays). The melanocyte cells are found between the dermis (the second layer of skin) and the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin). Normally every ten cells found within the epidermis and dermis are melanocytes the others are cells called keratinocytes. Melanin is made inside the melanocytes then is transferred along the cells’ long arms (dendrites) to nearby keratinocytes in the epidermis. Melanoma arises when there is an uncontrollable increase in the reproduction of melanocyte cells. Although, skin cancer mostly develops just below the skin’s surface, where an existing mole is located, it can get into the blood vessels and lymphatic

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