Skin Cancer: Fourth Largest Killer of All the Cancers

Skin Cancer is when there is an out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the body. These abnormal cells spread throughout the body causing skin cancer. Usually, the body’s immune system can control abnormal cells and remove them, but sadly sometimes it cannot be controlled and forms into a cancer cell. CVD refers to the damage of the heart, arteries, veins, and smaller blood vessels. Damaged is caused by the build-up of plaque inside the arteries, this is called Atherosclerosis. Through the build-up of plaque, it makes the artery smaller, making the blood in the body harder to travel and spreading oxygenated blood.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Australia, with skin cancer being the fourth largest killer of all the cancers in the world. This is due to our beach and sporting culture, which allows us to be outside more than other cultures. Skin cancer incidents is on the rise, more specifically skin cancer has increased by 26%. In 2012, cancer accounted for about 3 in 10 deaths within Australia. Unlike CVD which is on a downward trend, but is still the leading cause of death in Australia. CVD accounted for 29% of deaths in Australia in 2015, and there were more than 1 in 4 deaths due to CVD in 2017. In saying this both CVD and skin cancer mortality rates have decreased for both men and women. Also, for both skin cancer and CVD the ‘5-year survival rate’ has increased, meaning more people are surviving and overcoming these diseases more often. The most common age for an Australian to suffer a CVD is age 45 and above, this is due to people generally letting themselves go and doing very limited or no exercise. For skin cancer, it is most commonly attracted at 80 years of age but starts to slowly increase at the 50 years of age mark.

Some risk factors that increase an individual's chances of contracting CVD are hypertension, smoking, family history, being overweight or unfit, very little or no exercise, and Dyslipidaemia. Also, some risk factors that increase an individual's chance of contracting skin cancer are moles, consistent sunburn, family history, pale or fair skin, working outside (socioeconomic), and lack of knowledge about sun safety.

On the other hand, some protective factors for CVD are daily exercise, eating lots of healthy food like fruit and vegetables, and regular health checks. Also, some protective factors for skin cancer are applying sunscreen, Slip, Slap, Slop, Seek, Slide slogan and getting regular health checks.

Sociocultural is defined as ‘combining social and cultural factors’. Some sociocultural determinants that affect CVD are when families and peers participate in risk factors. For example, if a child’s parent is smoking, the child will suffer from passive smoking affecting him and his body at a very young age. Also, if your parents eat junk food for family meals, you will be eating very unhealthy at a young age and probably continue to eat junk food when older. Some sociocultural determinants for skin cancer are having a family history, meaning you have a larger chance of getting burnt and attracting skin cancer quicker than others. Another factor is family and friends taking part in risky behaviors. For example, when going to the beach or going outside and not applying sunscreen. Additionally, our Australian beach culture and the increased desire to tan in the sun makes it easier for us to get burnt. These factors all increase an individual's chances of contracting these diseases.

Socioeconomic is defined as ‘relating to or concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors’. Some socioeconomic determinants that affect cardiovascular disease is people who earn a lower income and education. These people will generally lead to smoking, drinking, and poor diet. Also, less education means less choice of future jobs. For example, working in the mines were there is more pollution and a larger chance of contracting CVD. Some socioeconomic determinants for skin cancer are having a lower level of education, meaning they have a lower level of health literacy and are unaware of the risk factors. Also, people who work outside are exposed to the sun for most of the day. This goes back to lower levels of health and being unaware of the risk factors when being in the sun for a long amount of time.

An environmental determent for CVD is in rural areas where CVD rates are higher in incidents and mortalities. This is due to a lock of access of services and technology. This is the same with skin cancer, people in rural areas don’t get regular checks and are unaware of the risk factors. Additionally, people who live near the beach are more inclined to be in the sun and go down to the beach regularly.

Some groups at risk for CVD are the elderly, smokers, unfit and overweight people, people with family history, ATSI, people with low economic status, and people who live in rural or remote areas. For skin cancer, people are at risk are the elderly, people who work outside, ATSI, and people who live in rural or remote areas.

07 July 2022
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