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Skin Cancer

            Every hour one American is killed by skin cancer and every thirty seconds one American gets skin cancer. Cancer is a deadly disease that alters the DNA of a skin cell and causes it to reproduce at a rapid pace. This overproduction of cells can be harmful and in many cases deadly. Out of these cancers the most common is Basal cell carcinoma. Many steps have been made in the treatment of Basal Cell Carcinoma, some have been very successful and some not. The cells that have the altered DNA are called malignant or cancerous cells. These cells are found in the outer layers of the skin. The skin's main job is to protect the body from infections and to insulate the body to keep it at the proper temperature. The first layer of skin is called the epidermis. This is the layer that is closest to the surface of the skin. There are three types of cells in this layer. The first is the squamous. The squamous cells are flat and scaly and are located closest to the surface of the skin. Second are the basal cells and finally are the melanocytes, which give the skin its color. The second layer of skin is the dermis, which is much thicker than the epidermis. This layer contains sweat glands, nerves and blood vessels. The dermis also contains follicles, which are tiny pockets from which the hair grows. The most common malignant cells are the basal cells. Cancer in the basal cell is called nonmelanoma cancer. This means that the cancer did not start in the melanocytes located in the epidermis. Basal Cell Carcinoma is caused by overexposure to the sun. The sun gives off ultraviolet rays, which are harmful to the human body. Basal cell carcinoma will affect body parts such as the eyes, ears and nose. If it is detected before it gets deep into the skin there will most likely be no problem treating the cancer. A problem will occur if it isn't detected quickly enough and it has progressed into the deep portions of the tissue.