Skin, the largest organ in the human body, serves as an outer layer of protection, defending the body against light, extreme heat or cold, injury and infection, while regulating water, lipid stores and body temperature.
Both external influences (sun exposure) and internal influences (an individual’s nutritional status) can compromise the skin’s ability to perform these functions and can lead to diseases such as skin cancer, or the abnormal growth of skin cells.
As you are preparing for your summer vacations or as you sit beside your pool each day, consider some of the following statistics:
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting nearly one in five Americans. In recent years, skin cancer has been diagnosed more than all other types of cancers combined. 1
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer, rarely is fatal. Basal cells are located beneath squamous cells and are responsible for the production of new skin cells.
Actinic keratosis is a common precancerous scaly growth or lesion that strongly predicts all major types of skin cancer, with nearly 10% of actinic keratoses leading to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer. 2 Squamous cells lie just below the skin’s surface (epidermis) and function as its inner lining. Fortunately, there is a high survival rate among SCC patients in the United States.
Melanocytes are in the lower part of the epidermis and produce the pigments that give skin its