Common causes of skin cancer you need to know

Credit: Unsplash+.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer globally, and understanding its causes can help in prevention and early detection.

Skin cancer happens when mutations occur in the DNA of skin cells.

These mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and form a mass of cancer cells.

Sun exposure is the most well-known cause of skin cancer. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage the DNA in skin cells. The more sun exposure you have, especially if it results in sunburns, the greater your risk of developing skin cancer.

This is why skin cancer is more common on body parts that receive the most sun exposure, such as the face, neck, arms, and legs.

UV exposure is not just from the sun; tanning beds are also a significant source of harmful UV radiation and have been linked to an increased risk of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Besides UV radiation, other factors contribute to the risk of developing skin cancer. People with lighter skin are more susceptible because they have less melanin, the pigment that helps protect the skin from UV rays.

Genetics also plays a role; having a family history of skin cancer can increase your risk. This genetic predisposition means that in some families, genes passed from parents to children may make them more likely to develop skin cancer.

Certain types of skin conditions or diseases that result in inflammation or scars can also increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

For example, long-standing scars, burns, or inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma.

Exposure to toxic substances can also lead to skin cancer. Chemicals like arsenic, found in contaminated water or in some industrial environments, can increase the risk of developing skin cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma.

Workers in industries that use coal tar, paraffin, and certain types of oils may also be at increased risk.

The role of viruses in causing skin cancer is an area of active research. For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) has been linked to skin cancers in some studies. Researchers are investigating how the virus might affect skin cells at the DNA level, potentially leading to cancer.

Prevention is a key strategy in combating skin cancer. Avoiding excessive sun exposure, wearing protective clothing and sunscreen, and avoiding the use of tanning beds can significantly reduce the risk.

Regular skin checks—both by healthcare professionals and through self-examinations—are important for catching skin cancer early, when it is most treatable.

With ongoing research, scientists are learning more about the precise ways in which genes, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices contribute to skin cancer. This knowledge is crucial for developing better prevention strategies and treatment options.

Meanwhile, public education on the dangers of UV radiation and the importance of protective measures remains a critical component in the fight against skin cancer.

Through awareness and proactive behavior, it is possible to reduce the incidence of this common but preventable disease.

If you care about skin health, please read studies about top signs of diabetic skin disease, and Mediterranean diet could help lower the skin cancer risk.

For more information about skin health, please see recent studies about eating fish linked to higher risk of skin cancer, and results showing how to combat the effects of aging on your skin.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.