What Causes Skin Cancer
The Importance of Knowing The Facts

What Causes Skin Cancer? Over 1 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year in the United States, and there are entire months and campaigns designated to cancer awareness and prevention.

Anyone who has ever lost a friend or loved one due to skin cancer is no doubt very vigilant about protecting their skin with sunscreen and getting regular checkups to investigate any suspicious moles or changes on their skin.

However, anyone who has never been personally affected by skin cancer may feel somewhat confused on the whole issue of skin cancer. With so much talk about tanning beds, SPF's, UVB and UVA rays in relation to skin cancer, it may be a good time to take a look at what causes skin cancer.

Basics You Should Know About What Causes Skin Cancer

  • As cancer cells develop in the body, they begin to rapidly divide and multiply. Because of its increased growth rate, cancer has the ability to quickly spread to other organs, tissues and bones in its path. While some cancers are inherited and passed through the gene pool, some cancers are developed as a side effect of smoking or exposure to harmful chemicals.
Sun and Sky
  • You have probably heard of the term "early detection" in relation to cancer, and this is important because the earlier the cancer is discovered, the better the chances that doctors will be able to successfully inhibit the spread of more cells to the rest of the body. When damaged DNA cells divide, the cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body. This spreading of cancer cells all over the body is called metastasis and once the cancer metastasizes, it can be more difficult to fully remove the cancer.
  • The sun is a welcome source of warmth on a chilly day, and attracts sun seekers during the warm months, but its ultraviolet rays can cause damage to the delicate human skin. Although they are not the only causes of skin cancer, overexposure to UVA and UVB rays are some of the main causes of skin cancer.
  • Sometimes what causes skin cancer is over exposure to artificial UV rays, such as tanning beds. The combination of UVA and UVB rays are what give the skin the tanned look. However, being exposed to these ultraviolet rays for long periods of time without any type of SPF is not wise.

    Soaking up the sun might be fun, but it can actually be very dangerous. It is a common misconception that sun damage is the main thing that causes skin cancer. The truth is that cancer can be caused by many different variables including, radiation from elevated levels of x-rays and contact with harmful chemical solutions.

Genetics and Heredity Play A Role In The Development Of Skin Cancer

  • Genetic predispositions such as fair skin, light colored hair/eyes, excessive freckling and frequently experiencing painful sunburns are what cause skin cancer in some people. Others who are more susceptible to developing cancer are those who were born with a lot of moles or those whose skin pigment is depleted due to genetic disorders.

    You have probably heard of the term "early detection" in relation to cancer, and this is important because the earlier the cancer is discovered, the better the chances that doctors will be able to successfully inhibit the spread of more cells to the rest of the body. When damaged DNA cells divide, the cancer can quickly spread to other parts of the body. This spreading of cancer cells all over the body is called metastasis and once the cancer metastasizes, it can be more difficult to fully remove the cancer.
  • The sun is a welcome source of warmth on a chilly day, and attracts sun seekers during the warm months, but its ultraviolet rays can cause damage to the delicate human skin. Although they are not the only causes of skin cancer, overexposure to UVA and UVB rays are some of the main causes of skin cancer.
  • Sometimes what causes skin cancer is over exposure to artificial UV rays, such as tanning beds. The combination of UVA and UVB rays are what give the skin the tanned look. However, being exposed to these ultraviolet rays for long periods of time without any type of SPF is not wise.

    Soaking up the sun might be fun, but it can actually be very dangerous. It is a common misconception that sun damage is the main thing that causes skin cancer. The truth is that cancer can be caused by many different variables including, radiation from elevated levels of x-rays and contact with harmful chemical solutions.
  • When there is evidence of a new mole/growth on the skin, a change in an old mole or a sore that never seems to heal, it is a good idea to go immediately to your dermatologist and have the growths tested.

    However, not every new growth or change in a current growth is cancer. The benign (non-cancerous) moles are not dangerous but are usually removed as soon as possible and thoroughly tested. Once these tumors are removed, they are usually gone for good and have a very low return rate. Once malignant (cancerous) cells are removed, sometimes the area where the tumor was removed still has to be treated with either chemotherapy or radiation.

Remember to always wear a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30, and with UVA and UBVB protection. You should also encourage your friends and love ones to wear sunscreen, even if they aren't going to be outside very long.

The best way to deal with possible cancerous moles is to have them removed as soon as they are detected before they have the chance to spread. Have regular checkups with a dermatologist and remember that you can never be too careful when it comes to cancer. Don't feel silly for asking questions and don't let a suspicious mole develop into something potentially dangerous. Be active in learning what causes skin cancer and take the necessary steps to protect yourself.



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