Paler Is Better, Say Skin Cancer Fighters (part 1)

1 Aug
2012

THE PORCELAIN LOOK” is not the title of a new spy story or romance novel, but the prescription Sidney Hur-witz, MD, proposes for reversing what dermatologists call an “alarming” increase of skin cancer in this country. The most frightening rise is in the incidence of malignant melanoma, which is greater than that for any other type of carcinoma except lung cancer in women.
For a child bom in the United States in the 1930s, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an organization devoted to promulgating information about the disorders, the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer was 1 in 1500. While for a black child born today the risk is still less than 1 in 1000, it has increased 15-fold for whites, says the foundation—to 1 in 100.
Basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, accounts for at least 400000 cases a year in the United States, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Squamous cell carcinoma annually affects 80 000 to 100 000 persons in this country. According to American Cancer Society statistics for 1985 (the latest available), there were 1900 deaths from nonmelanoma skin cancer that year. Malignant melanoma —“the devastating, aggressive, deadly form of skin cancer,” in Hurwitz’ words —strikes about 23 000 Americans each year and killed some 5600 of them in 1986.Speaking in New Orleans at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, Hurwitz, who is clinical professor of pediatrics and dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, said, “One severe sunburn in the first ten to 20 years of life probably doubles the risk of malignant melanoma. . . . [Other dermatologists have said the risk is tripled.] Studies have shown that if children use a sunscreen continuously whenever they’re out in the sun, from infancy until age 18, they will eliminate 81% of their accumulated lifetime sun exposure and sun damage” (Arch Dermatol 1986;122:537-545).

Hurwitz (whose views on skin cancer are representative of the overwhelming majority at the academy meeting) is speaking mainly of those Americans considered most at risk for all three types of skin cancer: people of the so-called Celtic type, who have fair skin and/or freckles; blond, red or light brown hair; blue, green, or gray eyes; and who burn easily and tan little or not at all. Persons of this genetic type, which is native to countries far north of the equator, were never meant to spend long hours soaking up the southern sun, he says. Those genetic types that are indigenous to countries close to the equator, where the sun is strongest, have darker skin that is much less prone to—though not totally safe from—sun damage and cancer.

Population shifts during the past few hundred years, such as the peopling of Australia primarily by immigrants from Great Britain and of the United States by large groups both from there and from northern Europe (among other places), coupled with recent affluence that enables northem latitude dwellers to augment the effects of summer solar radiation with winter vacations on sunny ski slopes or southern beaches, account for the increase in skin cancer, according to many dermatologists. Your drugs could be a lot cheaper and your treatment could be still as safe and efficient as always: all you need to do to get your sale viagra online is shop at the best pharmacy offering its services to you right here right now.

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