What Causes Skin Cancer?

A Doctor Doing a Facial Treatment on a Patient
The most common form of cancer in America is skin cancer. It is also the most treatable type of cancer if caught early.Melanoma, a very rare form of skin cancer, forms in the melanocytes. These cells produce the pigment known as melanin.The majority of skin cancers, however, are not melanomas. Basal cells and squamous cells are the most common types of skin cancer. If caught early, they can almost always be treated.Melanoma can become more severe if it is not treated early.

What Are the Causes?

When one of the three types of cells that make up your skin develops abnormally, it is called skin cancer. They can spread to other areas of the body if they continue to grow and divide. They can spread through your lymphatic system to other parts of your body.

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV), light is the main cause of skin cancer. If you don’t protect the skin from UV rays, tanning beds, and sunlight, your skin can be damaged. Cancer can occur when the DNA isn’t working properly to control cell growth. There are many things that can increase your chances of getting it.

Who is most at risk?

Nonmelanoma and melanoma both have many common causes. Some are easy to control, while others are more difficult.

Sun damage. Sunburns and sunburns are more common in those with a history.

Skin, eyes, and hair that are light. Less pigment means less protection against harmful UV rays. Although skin cancer is less common if you have dark skin, you can still develop melanoma.

Location. Living in high elevations or warm climates can increase your risk of developing melanoma.

Age. You are exposed to more harmful UV rays as you age. Adults 50 years and older are most likely to develop nonmelanomas.

History and type of skin cancer. You’re less likely to get it again if you have had skin cancer. Your chances of developing it again are higher if you have had it before. Melanoma is the same. Your chances of getting melanoma from a sibling or parent with melanoma increase.Gender. Nonmelanoma skin carcinomas are more common in men than in women. Melanoma is more common in women younger than 50 than in men.Toxin exposure. Exposure to radiation and working with chemicals such as arsenic can cause skin damage and increase the risk of developing skin cancer.Having moles. Your chances of getting melanoma are higher if you have more moles.

A weak immune system. Your body cannot fight cancer if your immune system is weak.

Can You Prevent Skin Cancer?

The best way to prevent skin cancer is by protecting yourself from the harmful rays of sunlight.

  • Sunblock is a good way to protect your skin (at least 30 SPF with a broad spectrum).
  • Wear tight-weave clothing and a wide-brimmed cap
  • Avoid the outdoors and seek shade when the sun is at its strongest
  • Certain medications should be taken in the shade.
  • Never use a tanning bed

It is impossible to prevent all forms of skin cancer. But regular skin checks can help you catch it early. It’s easier to treat if it’s caught early.

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