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Skin Cancer And The Elderly Essay

1166 words - 5 pages

I was born and raised in Palm Beach County of south Florida. The ocean, beach, and sun are just another everyday routine in the lives of a south Floridian. Sun bathing is a hobby that I never realized was such a big deal until moving to Orlando; when going to the beach and tanning is a privilege only shared on occasion. In Palm Beach County, it is hard to find someone that isn’t ten shades darker then they are naturally otherwise. When reports about the negative effects of UV light came about, I constantly heard “Oh, it won’t happen to me, I will deal with that when I’m older, but for now I’m going to continue tanning.” Today, skin cancer “is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.” ...view middle of the document...

Much of the sun damage that can result in long term consequences has already been inflicted. The Telegraph published an article in 2010 stating that the elderly tend to not visit their doctors as often, which results in prolonged diagnosis of skin cancer that is typically more difficult to treat (Smith). Though occurrences of skin cancer do increase with age, there are so many elders being diagnosed at advanced stages that it is highly important for elders to pay attention to any changes in their skin or moles in order to catch it earlier (Smith, 2010).
The Skin Cancer Foundation claims that “up to 90% of the visible changes common with aging are due to sun exposure” (Skin Cancer Facts). UV radiation has also been found to increase cataracts and suppress our body’s immune system, of which both dangers are already concerns for an elder’s health. These effects can be dangerous for elders because if cataracts are left untreated it can lead to blindness and our immune system may become more vulnerable against foreign bodies or other cancers (Health effects of overexposure to the sun).
Treatment and prevention of skin cancer is simple to achieve and it is concerning that people are not taking the necessary precautions in order to live a healthier, longer life. Step number one is to apply sunscreen any time you are in direct or indirect sun exposure. Wearing protective sunglasses can help prevent those with blue eyes from cataracts and other eye damage (Health effects of overexposure to the sun). Step two is to visit your doctor regularly. If you do develop anything that may be basal or squamous cell positive, simple procedures can be performed like burning, scraping, freezing, or dissolving of the infected areas while it is still in early stages. Areas of melanoma must be removed immediately and can be caught early by checking for signs and symptoms at home using the acronym: ABCD, asymmetry, irregular border, uneven color, and diameter greater than 6 mm (Ferrini, 2008).
For those 65 and older, the cost to treat melanoma totals $249 million annually and 40% of that cost alone is for treating advanced stage because elders do not get checked as often as they should (Health effects of overexposure to the sun). Melanoma has such a high price tag because so many elders do not get checked for skin variations. Melanoma is 65% caused from UV...

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