Some skin disorders result from overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight. At first, overexposure to sunlight results in injury known as sunburn. UV rays damage skin cells, blood vessels, and other dermal structures. Continual overexposure leads to leathery skin, wrinkles, and discoloration and can also lead to skin cancer. Anyone excessively exposed to UV rays runs a risk of skin cancer, regardless of the amount of pigmentation normally in the skin. Seventy-five percent of all skin cancers are basal cell carcinomas that arise in the epidermis and rarely spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Physicians can surgically remove basal cell cancers. Squamous cell carcinomas also occur in the epidermis, but these tend to metastasize. Malignant melanomas are life-threatening skin cancers that metastasize rapidly. There can be a 10-20 year delay between exposure to sunlight and the development of skin cancers.
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