Skin cancer is the most common malignant cancer in the United States. We will break it down into melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the fastest growing rate of cancer in men and the second fastest growing rate of cancer in women. Melanoma’s account for 3% of all cancers and 1% of all deaths from cancers. Melanoma is the most common cancer in 25 to 29 years olds, yet the median age of diagnoses is 53. Melanoma has tripled in the last 40 years. In 1930, the chances of getting melanoma were one in 1,500. In 1982, it had skyrocketed to 1 in 250. In 1996, the chances jumped to 1 in 87.
The causes of melanoma are unknown. Melanoma is a malignant Melanocyte where the pigment cells in our skins. Fortunately, these malignant cells show very little mobility so there is a high success rate with surgery. Lifestyle risks associated with melanoma are increased sensitivity to sunlight, nevi or moles, obesity, 20 grams of alcohol per day, family characteristics, and immune deficiencies. Nutritionally, tyrosine and phenoalamine have a lot to do with melanin production and some studies show decrease amounts may decrease risks. Two case studies demonstrated that zinc and Vitamin E decrease risks of melanoma. Fish oil and olive oil, or oleac oil, may have an effect on decreasing metastasis. Corn oil, on the other hand, was shown to increase metastasis in some studies. At any rate, it is a good idea to have your immune system functioning at a high rate to help combat melanoma.
Basal cell and squamous cell account for 40% and 60% of non-melanoma, respectively. Sun, or UV exposure, accounts for about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancer. There are two kinds of UV light, UV-A and UV-B. UV-B is a thousand times more active than UV-A, but there is 20 times more UV-A in sunlight than UV-B. In general, we can only receive so much UV exposure before our risks increase significantly. Once this threshold has met, then the tumor response is accelerated by repeated dosage of UV light. UV light has also shown to lower our immune system. One source calculated that we are reaching this threshold earlier and earlier. They stated that if we were to use number fifteen sunblock, we could cut down on 78% of all non-melanoma skin cancer. Obviously the areas of skin exposed to sunlight have the increased risk. Pigmented races have decreased risk.
Grapes have shown protection against skin cancer in mouse studies. Although not conclusive, N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be protective against skin cancers. Dietary fats seem to influence tumor development after the threshold of UV light has been reached. In one study a reduced fat diet consisting of 20% of calories coming from fats, decreased the reoccurrence of non-melanoma skin cancer. No change was noted in total calories, they just lowered their calories from fat 47% and increased their calories in proteins and carbohydrates. These accounted for the loss of calories in fats. Low fat diets also seem to decrease risks of skin cancers