The Problem - Skin Cancer (Melanoma):
Evidence suggests that skin cancer is caused by prolonged and repeated exposure to UV rays (NHS, 2013). The main source of UV rays is from direct exposure to the sun. When large amounts of ultraviolet radiation pass through your DNA they can damage it. However, not all skin cancers develop from UV rays, some forms are hereditary. A faulty gene can be passed through generations and cause Familial Malignant Melanoma. People with paler skin or excessive numbers of moles are more likely to develop the disease as their body may not be producing enough melanin, which is responsible for blocking UV rays. If there is less melanin in a person’s skin then more UV rays pass through and more damage will be done. ((NHS, 2013).
The sun can be dangerous as it emits UV rays, which can penetrate and damage DNA (Cancer Research UK, 2013). This can change the nucleotide bases, which are what DNA is made up of. When the DNA is copied the base is incorrect and damaged, this leads to a mutation (University of Utah, 2013). Figure 1 shows how external factors can damage DNA. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can result in the mutation of cells, which then develop into a cancer.
Approximately 100,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with a form of skin cancer and 12,000 of these people are diagnosed with the deadliest form of the cancer: ‘Melanoma’ (Cancer Research, 2013). When the cancer is identified at an early stage, there is a greater chance of a successful treatment. Melanoma will usually be treated through a radiology course (using x-rays to destroy cancer cells) or through surgery (where the tumor(s) are surgically removed). (Macmillan, 2013). Survival rates for st...
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Fellner, C. 2012. Ipilimumab (Yervoy) Prolongs Survival In Advanced Melanoma [online] Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/artic les/PMC3462607/ [Accessed 17 November 2013]
Learn. Genetics, 2013. What causes DNA mutations? [online] Available at: < http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/archive/sloozeworm/mutationbg.html > [Accessed 27 November 2013]
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