Scientists have been warning the public for years that the continued emission of excessive greenhouse gas into the atmosphere will result in a warming planet. But, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions are not the only horrors that you should be worried about.
With the increasing global temperature will come new diseases that will threaten human lives anywhere they may be. No one is safe. Everyone is bound to experience the consequences of decades of unregulated greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. One primary cause of concern is skin cancer.
Skin cancer is becoming more common
Since the mid-20th century, the incidence of skin cancer globally has increased steadily. In the United States, an estimated one in five Americans are expected to develop skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old. More than two patients diagnosed with skin cancer die every hour.
This type of cancer has a high survival rate, but many people do not notice that they have a problem until it has become serious. Prevention is key by limiting the time one spends outdoors and using coverings when they go outside such as a hat or an umbrella. Moreover, everyone should also apply sunscreen at all times.
There are many varieties of sunscreen available in the market. Some are infused in either skincare or makeup. Others purport a high sun protection factor or SPF. Consumers can also get a scented sunscreen
or one that is free of fragrance.
Sun exposure is essential to one’s health
. It is the primary source of vitamin D, which is used by the body to improve bone strength and boost the immune system, for humans. However, it is also a major health risk.
How sun exposure causes skin cancer
The use of sunscreen is not just for cosmetic reasons (sun exposure leads to premature aging of the skin). It creates an almost impenetrable layer over the skin, preventing the harmful ultraviolet radiation from reaching the surface. UV radiation can damage the fibers of the skin called elastin. Without elastin, the skin would likely sag as it stretches and refuses to go back in place.
Cumulative sun exposure over years can lead to the growth of abnormal skin cells that may result in a tumor that is either benign or malignant. Malignant tumors
are cancerous and should immediately be removed.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but those who are at risk the most are those whose jobs involve being under the sun for long hours every day, people with lighter skin tones, and a family history of skin cancer.
Its relation to climate change
Will the changing climates result in a significant increase in skin cancer among the population? Experts believe that it is highly likely.
The Earth’s ozone layer is responsible for shielding the planet from UV radiation. When there is a hole in the ozone layer, UV radiation exposes humans (as well as plants and animals). Therefore, they are likely to experience its negative health effects.
The depletion of the ozone layer is the result of a few factors. The widespread use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a human-made chemical found in spray cans and other beauty products, created a massive hole in the ozone layer in the ’70s and ’80s
. The presence of water vapor in certain layers of the atmosphere may also influence the ozone layer to open up.
Extreme storms, which will happen more often as a result of climate change, add vapor in the stratosphere which will create damage to the ozone layer. The increasing global temperature is turning weather around the world haywire. Studies have proven that climate change is responsible for extreme weather events.
Greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere can also inject moisture into the stratosphere. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, turns into water in the stratosphere. The more methane humans send to the atmosphere, the worse the ozone layer is going to become.
The increase in cases
It does not end with skin cancer. A more recent study warns that climate change will trigger an explosion in cancer diagnoses
in the near future. More people will likely develop skin, lung, and gastrointestinal cancers.
The effects of climate change on the planet, which include environmental toxins, air pollution, the emergence of diseases, and the disruption of food and water supply will increase the risk of cancer among the global population.
It is not too late. The fight against climate change is not over. Mitigating the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will save nature from destruction and humans from life-threatening diseases.