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My parents both have Melanoma, which puts me at about a 97% chance of getting it. My interest began this past semester when I began to show signs of skin cancer. I want people especially my age to realize that Melanoma is not something to just brush off, they need to know what it is and what it looks like. The sun is not anyone’s friend. Even though it can give some people a nice brown tan which in their minds makes them look better, the sun is under estimated in what it can do to your skin. There are lucky people out there who bake in the sun from day to day without any problems, but for those who catch the worst of it can end up with skin cancer, such as Melanoma. Melanoma is most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to data published in 2009 by Skincancer.org, an estimated 132,000 new Melanoma cases are diagnosed worldwide each year. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Melanoma.net’s basic definition is Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce the dark pigment, melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin. The main reason or cause why most people get Melanoma is the sun. Both U VA and UVB rays are dangerous to the skin, and can induce skin cancer, including melanoma. Blistering sunburns in early childhood increase risk, but cumulative exposure also is a factor. People,
Schroeder who live in locations that have more sunlight like Florida, Hawaii, and Australia, develop more skin cancers. Avoid using a tanning bed, since it increases your exposure to UV rays,
raising your risk of developing melanoma and other skin cancers. The most common form that Melanoma comes in is a mole. If it is over exposed to the sun, a mutation starts to begin. The best way to determine if you have the slightest possibility of having it, is to check your whole body for moles that are disfigured, or a dark reddish brown color. If a mole as popped up out of nowhere, someone should also go to the doctor to get it checked out. Heredity plays a major role in melanoma. According to Melanoma.net about one in every 10 patients diagnosed with the disease has a family member with a history of melanoma. If your mother, father, siblings or children have had a melanoma, you are in a melanoma-prone family. Research from the American Cancer society shows that each person with a first-degree relative diagnosed with melanoma has a 50 percent greater chance of developing the disease than people who do not have a family history of the disease. Ross Schroeder aka my dad states, “I get scared every time genetics is brought up, with ties to Melanoma. My wife and I both of it, which means we are putting this huge burden on our son and daughters shoulders. It kills me that I am the main reason for them getting this cancer.” But even though genetics is a huge risk, the sun is the main reason for getting this cancer. Melanoma in young people has been on the rise in the last 5 years. Kids these days are laying out from morning to afternoon hoping that their skin will be a different color by the end of the day. Ryan Ori, who is a writer for Skincancer.Org states “Young adults care about one thing and one thing only, how they look. When their skin is a golden brown they feel a since of accomplishment, which sadly will never change.” Most do not even care if
they get sunburn because that “in theory” will eventually turn to tan. Being tan looks good to most teens and is the cool thing. No one actually realizes that each time they are getting darker, it increases their risk of getting Melanoma. “Melanoma is a burden to carry around, and I get nervous every time I see young people looking as dark as the wood on my stained deck. They have no idea what might be coming their way”, Sarah Schroeder states. Teens think they are invincible and something in their minds as simple as skin cancer will never happen to them. But in reality out of every 10 young adults one of them will end up with Melanoma (Ori, 2). But the sad thing is most people in general these days don’t even know what it is. My mom, Sarah Schroeder, had barley any idea what is was until she started noticing disfigured moles on her back and the only reason my dad knew about it was because his dad had it. The problem is most people think skin cancer is something that comes and goes, but if someone gets Melanoma it is with them for life. According to Skincancer.org treatment for Melanoma all depends on how early it is caught. My mother unfortunately waited about a year after she found the spots to go get checked out. Since she waited longer her Melanoma progressed to Stage 2, but she did have a little bit of good news. The doctor said if she waited even a month later then it would have progressed to Stage 3. If caught early then chances are good if it is still in Stage 0 or 1, which means it has not spread to other parts of the body and it is not deep into the skin. With Melanoma in Stage 0/1 all that needs to be done is have the area of skin cut out. This does not
Schroeder mean that the Melanoma is gone forever, the area still has to be watched and it always could come back. If Melanoma is caught in Stage 2 the rates are still good, but at this point some of the cancer cells may have moved to other sites which can cause the Melanoma to
keep coming back more frequently and quicker. The main site can still be removed, but for the best results the patient should go to the doctor every 2 to 3 weeks. If caught in Stage 3 the rates drop down much lower than the other stages. At this point the cancer cells have spread to many different places, which calls for a more drastic surgery, which makes sure most of the spots are cut out. Lastly, if the Melanoma is caught in Stage 4, which is the last stage, the survival rates are slim to none. There is sadly no reason to cut out the cancerous cells because by this time they will be all over the body. Five-year survival ranges from 7%-19%. I did a survey in my dorm and asked 50 people if they knew what Melanoma was. If they said yes then I asked them more questions about it. 40% of the people I asked had no idea what it was. Most knew it was a type of disease but they could not tell me the cause of it. I had about 4 people Google it in front of me and said they would have never known unless I had asked. When I got to the people that did know, most of them just responded by saying it’s a type of cancer. They knew you could get it from the sun, but only 6 people out of 50 I asked actually knew how deadly it could be. I asked everyone I surveyed if they knew what Melanoma looked like. My RA was one of the only people who told me it could come from a mole. A girl on my floor named Laura Hemmingway had a family friend who just died from Melanoma. She was the only person who could actually tell me the major details about it. This survey made me realize how under played Melanoma is. No one
Schroeder around my age group has any clue what it is, and even if they did, they wouldn’t know if they had it or not. Over Easter I, Sophie Schroeder, was diagnosed with Melanoma. Luckily since I knew what I was looking for it was caught early, but it is never going to go away fully. I
guess you could say I got stuck with crappy genetics, but people need to realize that the sun is the most leading cause. I wrote this paper not intending to scare people but to make them aware Melanoma or any type of skin cancer is not a joke. America is uneducated when it comes to protecting their skin. We are obsessed with looking golden brown and will do almost anything to get tan. As long as I can make somewhat of a point so that people will actually pay attention to their bodies if a mole or mark does not look right, then I have done my job. The sun is not your friend and will leave your skin with much more than just a golden tan.
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