Tell students: You are going to try to identify a mystery illness that is
afflicting the country. Listen to clues as I read the situation to
In 1995 there were 800,000 new cases of this ailment
reported, which was up from 700,000 in 1993 and
400,000 in 1980. Medical experts predict that
year there will be 34,100 new cases --15,400 in women and 18,700 in men,
with 7,200 deaths from this ailment. Doctors
nationwide have been troubled by what
they see as a growing incidence of this ailment among younger patients. The
ailment now affects about 7 children per million, according to 2002 statistics.
While that amounts to only about 500 children each year, the number has risen
from 3 per million in 1982.
incidence rate for this ailment has more than doubled
since 1973 and it is projected that by 2010,
one in 50 Americans will be afflicted. (Dallas
News, TX - Jul 3, 2005)
students: What is the mystery ailment? (Have them brainstorm
on the possible answers). After a few minutes have them
discuss the prospective ailments, discussing the rationale
for their answers.
the students have identified that skin cancer or melanoma
is the mystery ailment discuss
Why do you think the rate of skin cancer is increasing?
Have students share their rationale for their answers.
Then share with students the following
findings on an overhead transparency:
HAS SKIN CANCER INCREASED?
to some estimates a sustained 10% global loss
of ozone may lead to a 26% increase in the incidence
among fair skinned people.
1930s America the chances of developing the more serious
was 1 in 1500. In 1991 it had soared to 1 in 150,
is predicted to rise
to as much as 1 in 75 early in the 21st century.
exposure to artificial sources of ultraviolet rays
like tanning booths increases both men’s and
women's risk of developing skin cancer
students to work with a partner to complete the following
1. List individuals and agencies that will have an active
role in dealing with the issue of skin cancer (be prepared
to justify your list)
2. In what capacity might the federal government deal with
skin cancer in the United States? (list specific actions
government officials might take).
3. How might clinical trials be used to identify behaviors
that increase the risk of developing this disease and to
find ways to cure it?
Have students share their responses with the rest of the class. Conclude the
class by telling students that during the next two weeks they will investigate
the government’s role in promoting healthy behaviors of its citizens
with the focus on skin cancer. Does the government have a “responsibility” to
protect its citizens from disease?
Optional assignment for bonus points:
Have students visit a tanning booth business and find out the procedures
for using the facility by minors. If possible bring a contract to class the
following day for class discussion.