Science Questions

Is skin cancer moe common now?

Sat, 14th Apr 2007

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Jan asked:

Why does skin cancer seem so much more prevalent now? Is it a new disease, or did people not talk about cancer in the old days?


Non Melanoma cancers (skin cancer which does not affect the melanocytes, or skin pigment cells) are by far the most common cancers in the western world.  Its largely because the skin is the barrier which is protecting you from the environment.  Exposure to sunlight, if uncontrolled, could damage the DNA in your skin and give you cancer.  Other types of damage that could result in cancer include exposure to harmful chemicals.

Rates of Melanoma (skin cancer which does affect the melanocytes, or skin pigment cells) have nearly trebled in the last few decades, particularly among younger people.  This could be because people are taking holidays in the sun and using sunbeds, overexposing themselves to radiation over short periods.


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