Cancer of the skin is the most common form of cancer found in humans, and the most common of the skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma (Hill et al., 2004). Ultraviolet radiation is the predominant risk factor for developing melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers (Gesensway, 2000).
Continued exposure to UV radiation can damage the DNA of skin cells to such an extent that repair is no longer possible, and permanent genetic mutations replace normal cell replication.
There are three types of skin cancer, each named after the type of cell they originate from: basal cells, squamous cells and melanocytes.
These skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma can cause severe illness and, if not detected and treated early, will permanently damage and disfigure the skin. When skin cancer of these types is treated in the early stages, there is a 95% chance of cure.
Out of these three types of skin cancer, the most serious is Melanoma, which comes from the melanocyte cells.
Australia has the highest percentage of people living with skin cancer globally. It is now known that 1-in-2 Australians will develop skin cancer during their lifetime.
In America, the rate of melanoma cancer is increasing by 7% per year, with 1-in-5 Americans developing skin cancer during their lifetime. Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer for 25 to 29-year-olds. Malignant Melanoma is the cause of over 75% of deaths from skin cancer.
Overexposure to the sun is the most significant contributor to skin and lip cancer. This means that it is also largely avoidable if proper sun protection is used regularly.
Artificial UV rays are just as dangerous as natural UV rays, and it is just as easy to get skin cancer from sunbeds and tanning lamps as from the sun.