In the last issue of our Health Science News Page we discussed aspects of skin cancer and the damage caused by excessive sun exposure. The most common risk factor of non-melanoma skin cancer is excessive sunlight exposure. However, it is important to note that the non-melanoma skin cancers—basal and squamous cell carcinomas—are not as lethal as melanoma which can also occur on areas of the skin not exposed to the sun. Sun exposure can cause free radical damage to skin cells, leading to DNA damage and skin aging, and may eventually cause skin cancer; however, that is not the only risk factor.
With the arrival of summer people become acutely aware of sun exposure, skin cancers and the use of sunscreen. Worldwide, one in three diagnosed cancers is classified under skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the most common forms of skin cancer, and malignant melanoma is the most fatal.