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Our skin is our body's first line of defense and we must keep it undamaged and intact! Sunlight, one of the most important ingredients to sustain life on this planet, can be skin's worst enemy.
Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays which can cause genetic mutations to skin cells. Those mutations frequently turn the cells into cancer cells. Skin cancer is not something that is acquired overnight; it takes a lifetime of exposure to create the right conditions for cancer to start growing.
I will give my own personal experience as an example. My father was a lover of the outdoors, and from the time he learned to walk was always outside. His parents didn't know about the harmful effects of UV rays back then, so they didn't use sunscreen or put a hat to protect him when he went out. As he got older, he hated wearing hats and seldom wore one. In college, he majored in forestry engineering, and eventually ended up working for the U. S. Forest Service building roads, clearing trees, and fighting fires. So, he was in the sun all day long! After he got married, he helped his father in his landscaping business and was still in the sunlight all the time. Well, it caught up to him!
About ten years ago, when my father was 65, strange-looking spots started showing up on his face. The spots grew, ruptured, and began oozing. My mother applied all sorts of creams, ointments, and gave him many different pills to take (all to no avail). The skin on his face, particularly his forehead and nose, continued to worsen. Finally we prevailed on him to go see a doctor, some tests were performed, and he got the horrible news that he had skin cancer! Sixty-five years of unprotected exposure to the brutal UV rays of the sun had wreaked havoc! Fortunately for him, the doctors were able to remove the cancer and do reconstructive surgery on his face. But, it took several painful operations and about six months for his face to heal. Even at that there were lasting, permanent scars from it. It scared all of us, especially him! By the way--he always wore a hat after that!
My point is this: skin cancer can be prevented! From the time we are little babes in arms, we need to protect our skin. Whether it's sunblock, sunscreen, hats, umbrellas, sunshades . . . whatever works for us . . . , we will be glad we did!
This an important request. I would say that three facts of skin cancer should help to persuade your friend to avoid too much exposure to the sun.
First, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the world today. It is estimated that there are over one million new cases of skin cancer per year. This is an astronomical amount of new cases. More troubling, this number is increasing every year.
Second, skin cancer can cause great discomfort in a person, even mild cases. The skin oozes, peels, itches, bleeds, and even changes colors. And keep in mind we are not talking about the more severe form, namely, death.
Third, there are always longterm effect. What you do with your skin now will have longterm effects. So, wise people will be aware of the quality of life later on.
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