"Skin Cancer and Health Determinants " is a great example of a paper on cancer. Skin cancer is one of the killer diseases in Australia with a high mortality rate reported to be at 1000 annually. Out of these, 30% are women while 70% are men. Prevalence of risk cancer is reported between the ages 21 and 70 years (Department of Health and Ageing, 2008). This essay outlines the health determinants associated with skin cancer with the target group being Australian outdoor workers. The essay outlines the scope of the problem before grouping the health determinants into three key groups: behavioral/lifestyle, socio-ecological and biomedical.
Scope of the problem Cancer prevalence in Australia has been on the increase and the government has spent huge sums in tackling the issue. For instance, in 2005, approximately 405 people died of skin cancer and to be specific non-melanoma skin cancer. In the same year, there were about 2,347 emerging cases of melanoma type cancer with Victoria alone reporting 245 death cases (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and Australasian Association of Cancer, 2008).
The report further indicated that skin cancer is most common in individuals who spent long hours in the sun. Skin cancer is more prevalent in the regional areas as compared to city centers by approximately 60% and the most reported type is the melanoma form of cancer (Staples, Elwood, Burton, Williams, Marks, Giles, 2006). In Australia, in every 100,000, 46 people are reported to be having skin cancer in accordance with WHO 2010 report. Nonetheless, the figure is high in outdoor workers with the same report indicating that there are 100 cases in every 100,000 examined (Australia Institute of Health and Welfare, 2008).
There are various determinants that have been reported to be directly linked with skin cancer; hence the following paragraphs will discuss various determinants associated with skin cancer among Australian outdoor workers. Health determinants of skin cancer Behavioral determinants Excessive exposure to the sunAccording to Anaise, Steinitz & Ben Hur (1999), sunlight is important for the health of human beings. Australian outdoor workers are most exposed to sunlight for long hours. However, the impacts of ultraviolet are both negative and positive.
A study by ACRF (2010) identified risks from exposure to sunlight for lip cancer, melanoma cancer, and other forms of skin cancer. Studies have indicated that exposure to the excessive sun plays a crucial role in causing melanoma cancer. Another study indicated individuals who are exposed to the sun for long hours are likely to suffer from sunburn and sunburn increases the risk of having cutaneous malignant melanoma. Another study indicated that most outdoor workers do not apply sunscreen as directed, thus not protected from ultraviolet rays. In a study carried out by Staples, Elwood, Burton, et al (2006) in Southern Australia, there was an increased rate of infection despite the use of sunscreen among outdoor workers.
The same study pointed out that, traditional means such as putting on protective clothes and hats offer more protection than sunscreens. Every year approximately 100,000 cases of skin cancer are reported in Australia. According to WS (2010), non-melanoma skin cancer occurs at an individual’ s exposed body parts such as the arms, neck, and head. SPIS (2009) however indicated that pigmentary risk factors are key health determinants of skin cancer.
Individuals with light hair color, light skin, inability to tan after a number of exposures, the tendency to freckle, and light eye color are more prone to skin cancer compared to their counterparts who have black. However, the same is accelerated by the amount of sun one exposes himself or herself to. Lifestyle: clothingAfter one is diagnosed with skin cancer and successfully treated it is essential for the patient to alter the lifestyle so as to prevent being at risk of skin cancer reoccurring. A quantitative study carried out by AIHW (2008) in Australia indicated that individuals who have had skin cancer are more at risk of developing the disease again.
Therefore, it is essential for people to reduce the chances or the time in which they are exposed to the sun. outdoor workers who are more at risk of having skin cancer should put on protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeved clothing so as to minimize the parts of the body that they expose to direct sunlight (AIHWAAC, 2008). Additionally, according to WS (2010), regular skin examination on a monthly basis for any signs of skin cancer is a healthy lifestyle for preventing and managing skin cancer.
This is because early detection of the diseases increases the chances of it being treated as compared to when the disease is discovered at later stages. SPIS (2009) pointed out that healthy behaviors or lifestyles such as healthy eating, exercising, and avoiding smoking also assists in preventing or managing the disease. Nonetheless, there are few studies and evidence of how the aforementioned factors contribute towards lowering the chances of having skin cancer especially among Australian outdoor workers (ACRF, 2010). Biomedical factors Skin pigmentation According to a study carried out by Holman & Armstrong (2000) among Australian outdoor workers, skin color plays a key role in determining the effects of ultraviolet radiation such as sunburn and erythema.
According to McKenzie, Neiger& Smeltzer (2009) individuals who are light-skinned need approximately three to five times less ultraviolet radiation so as to induce erythema as compared to their counterparts who are dark-skinned. Furthermore, research has shown that melanin plays an essential role in protecting individuals against skin cancer.
The aforementioned was evident in a study carried out in Australia to determine the role of melanin in preventing or protecting individuals from skin cancer, especially outdoor workers. According to WS (2010), pigmentation variation affects the level of skin cancer in individuals, especially those exposed to sunlight for long hours. However, epidemiologic evidence from a number of countries is not only consistent but also shows that there is a difference between non-white and white in melanoma incidences. A study carried out among Australian outdoor workers pointed out that white races were prone to skin cancer as compared to their non-white counterparts.
Holman & Armstrong (2000) in their study further illustrated that increased pigmentation over protection to individuals from acute effects of ultraviolet rays to exposed body partsSocio-ecological factors Occupation and industry A study carried out by ARPANSA (2006) on the role of industry and occupation using ever-employed outdoor workers in Australia versus employed indoor workers indicated that melanoma is closely related to occupation or industry. The findings indicated that there were increased risks of melanoma in woodworkers, farmers, surveyors, engineers, and other outdoor workers (WS, 2010). Socioeconomic statusAnother study in Australia using a definite descriptive review on occupation and industry on cases of skin cancer, the findings indicated that outdoor workers in the upper social classes were prone to cancer risks than their counterparts who belong to the lower class.
Other socioeconomic factors such as education level and lack of insurance which is common in most outdoor works influence one's knowledge of the type of skin they are diagnosed with. Another study pointed out that individuals who have lower educational levels are likely not to go for screening as compared to those who have attained higher levels of education (CCA, 2010).
Using the quantitative research method in his study ARPANSA (2006) pointed out that the level of education inhibits an individual’ s awareness of the measures to be taken in reducing future risks of skin cancer. For instance, reports indicate that in 2002, 80% of all cancer cases in Australia were skin cancer. In 2005, 405 deaths as a result of non-melanoma skin cancer were reported with 129 being females and 276 being males.
Additionally, 82 out of the reported number were Victorians. However, 50 cases remained undiagnosed due to insufficient knowledge (ACRF, 2010). Conclusion From the aforementioned elements, it is evident that skin cancer is prevalent in Australia and health determinants contribute to the same in one way or the other. The essay has outlined skin cancer health determinants such as lifestyle, skin pigmentation, industry and occupation, and excessive exposure with the target group being Australian outdoor workers (Moodie & Hulme, 2006). Lifestyle such as the type of clothing that one puts on during sunny days can make one be at risk of having risk cancer.
Aspect of pig pigmentation is another health determinant that puts individuals at risk of having skin cancer. Occupation and industry also contribute to the risks of having skin cancer, for instance, individuals who are involved indoor are at less risk of having skin cancer as compared to their counterparts who work outdoor and are exposed to sunlight making them be at risk of getting skin cancer. Therefore, in order to reduce the prevalence rate, future developed programs need to put the highlighted aspects in this particular project into consideration.
People need to protect their bodies from excessive sunlight in order to reduce the risks of contracting skin cancer.
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